HealthDay News — The costs of informal caregiving for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) were estimated at $61 billion in 2015 and are set to more than double by 2035, according to a policy statement published online April 9 in Circulation.

Sandra B. Dunbar, R.N., Ph.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the 2014 Health and Retirement Survey to estimate hours of informal caregiving for individuals with CVD by age, sex, and race. Data were analyzed for 16,731 non-institutionalized adults aged ≥54 years.

The researchers estimated the costs of informal caregiving to be $61 billion in 2015 for patients with CVD, and these were projected to increase to $128 billion in 2035. More than half the total costs of informal caregiving for patients with CVD were attributable to the costs of informal caregiving for stroke patients ($31 billion in 2015 and $66 billion in 2035). In 2015 costs were highest for those aged 65 to 79 years, but by 2035 these are expected to be surpassed by costs for those aged ≥80 years. For patients with CVD, costs of informal caregiving represent an additional 11 percent of medical and productivity costs.

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“These estimates have important research and policy implications, and they may be used to guide policy development to reduce the burden of CVD on patients and their caregivers,” the authors write.

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