The social cost of care
‘‘Arthritis New Zealand is not surprised by the news that over 420,000 New Zealanders are providing unpaid care for friends or family,’’ chief executive Sandra Kirby says.
She is referring to a report from Infometrics that analyses the social cost of caregiving.
The report has found that carers give an average 30 hours of unpaid care per week to ill, elderly and disabled friends and family members each year, with a grand total of 67 million hours across the country per year, at an annual cost of between $7.3 billion and $17.6b.
This is the equivalent of between 3.4 and 8.1 per cent of GDP.
‘‘We know many people living with arthritis need additional support.
‘‘The 2010 Access Economics Report on the Cost of Arthritis in New Zealand suggested that while 1.6 per cent of people with arthritis accessed formal care, over 40 per cent of people relied on informal caregiving provided by family members or friends to assist them with routine daily tasks like housework, dressing, and bathing.
‘‘In 2010 the cost of carers for people with arthritis was estimated at $3.2b.
‘‘We all have a role to play in making care arrangements work. And we suggest employers in particular can help staff continue to care for friends and family members who need their help.
‘‘Flexible working arrangements, time off to attend medical appointments for those under their care, and part-time work options can all help to make a difference.’’
Water confident: Lessons for children can start from as young as three months.