“There are only four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers; those who currently are caregivers; those who will be caregivers; and those who will need caregivers.” --Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady of the United States 

Caregiving—the act of providing assistance and support to another person—is critical to the fabric of society. Caregiving for the young, elderly, sick, and disabled is a necessary part of human existence, but is often undervalued and excluded from policy agendas. Caring for another person can have a positive effect on a caregiver’s life, but the lack of societal value on caregiving and the absence of supportive policies for caregivers can diminish this positive reward. Moreover, the pressure to manage multiple roles can significantly impact a caregiver’s physical well-being, mental health, financial state, and career trajectory. 

In partnership with EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the United States and Canada, the Wilson Center has been examining the economic, health, and societal impacts of caregiving. The Juggling Act of Caregiving: Balancing Career, Health, and Gender Roles was written to provide background for the current caregiving landscape in the United States and to serve as a reference for future dialogues around career, family, gender, and health.

 

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