SSN Commentary

Utah Should Support the ‘Hidden Heroes’ Who Give Care to Veterans and Others

Policy field

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VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System, Research Associate, University of Utah

Originally published in The Salt Lake Tribune on November 10, 2022.

As a Utahn, I am proud to live in a state that openly values and supports family. As a researcher, I am part of a community calling attention to the hidden nature, value and needs of family caregivers.

new report by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, in partnership with the Family Caregiving Collaborative (FCC) at the University of Utah, highlights the value, and cost, of family caregiving in Utah.

It is estimated that more than 400,000 Utah adults care for a friend or family member with a disability or a serious illness. This is expected to increase at least 25% over the next eight years. While friend and family caregivers save the state billions of dollars annually, the emotional, mental and physical costs are growing as caregiver burden increases. Current local efforts can help but need public and taxpayer support.