• Benefits Corner 3rd Qtr

    By Bill Dodge, CRA Benefits Chair

    Bill Dodge

    For the benefit topic this quarter I thought that I would take a different path and share with you a human-interest story prepared by my daughter-in-law, Myra Tabios-Dodge, for the MD Anderson Cancer Center located in Houston, TX. Her story has been recently posted on the Center’s social media channels in an effort to help inspire hope for other brain tumor patients and caregivers. 

    Before I share her story with you, I would like to begin with some background information on the subject of family care-giving.  According to the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), a National Center on Care-giving headquartered in San Francisco, CA. family care-giving is typically at the core of what sustains frail elders and adults with disabilities, yet caregivers often make major sacrifices to help loved ones remain in their homes. The FCA – founded over 40 years ago in 1977 – serves as a public voice for these caregivers, illuminating the daily challenges they face, offering them the assistance they so desperately need and deserve, and championing their cause through education, services, research and advocacy. The following web-link provides additional information about the FCA which operates programs for family caregivers at local, state, and national levels: https://www.caregiver.org 

    Who are Informal Caregivers?

    Most Americans have provided care to an ill or disabled loved one or know someone who has. In fact:

    • An estimated 44.4 million Americans provide care for adult family members and friends who, because of disabling illnesses or conditions, have limited ability to carry out daily activities such as bathing, managing medications or preparing meals.
    • Informal caregivers provide 37.1 billion hours of care each year in the United States.
    • 78% of adults receiving long-term care at home rely exclusively on family and friends to provide assistance.
    • 70% of people with Alzheimer's disease live at home, where families provide at least 75% of their care.

    What is the Burden of Care-giving?

    Various studies have measured the impact of care-giving on daily life. Researchers have found that:

    • Family caregivers face a range of health risks and serious illnesses themselves.
    • Family caregivers experience high rates of depression, stress and other mental health problems.
    • Elderly spousal caregivers experiencing mental or emotional strain have a 63% higher risk of dying than non-caregivers
    • The long-term effects of care-giving on women's economic well-being are profound: One study found that care-giving for a parent substantially increased women's risks of living in poverty and receiving public assistance in later life.
    • 67% of family caregivers report conflicts between care-giving and employment, resulting in reduced work hours or unpaid leave.
    • Informal caregivers personally lose about $659,139 over a lifetime: $25,494 in Social Security benefits; $67,202 in pension benefits; and $566,443 in lost wages
    • Family caregivers spend an average of $5,531 a year on care-giving expenses, including household goods, food, transportation, medical co-payments, prescription drugs, and medical equipment and supplies.

    According to the FCA, while economic constraints are very real, providing support for family caregivers through publicly-funded programs isn’t just the right thing to do, it is sound fiscal policy.

    The family caregiver story previewed below is an inspirational one as it is a tribute to the vital role caregivers provide. Read the full story on MD Anderson’s Cancerwise blog.

     Contact Information for CRA’s Benefits Committee:

     Bill Dodge, Chevron / Gulf : Email: CRABenefits9@gmail.com ; Phone: 832-934-0680 

    Mark Engelbrecht, Chevron / Texaco : Email: markengelbrecht@yahoo.com                                                              Phone: 337-984-6490

    Herb Farrington, Chevron / Unocal : Email: herbf76@msn.com; Phone:714-904-5825 

    Carl Pataky, Chevron / Gulf : Email: cpataky@flash.net ; Phone: 915-584-9306 

    James (Jim) R. Schultz, Chevron : Email: jrs@aol.com ; Phone: 925-368-8628 

    Jos van der Velden, Chevron / Gulf Canada : Email: jospth.48@gmail.com

                                                                             Phone: 604-542-2049