Though it took Daniel Sanchez a while to see the signs, the 40-year-old Stratford resident eventually came to the painful realization that his mother, Zoraida Santiago, had dementia and couldn't live on her own. Sanchez noticed his mother was having a hard time remembering recent events and was easily confused. One of the last straws was when Santiago, who then worked at a convalescent home, became unable to distinguish night from day and started going to work twice a day. About four years ago, Sanchez decided to have his mom, now 67, move in with him and his family.
It's been challenging, as Sanchez and his wife, Teresa, are also raising 4-year-old twins and Santiago needs constant attention. But Sanchez didn't see that he had a choice. "I'm adamant about taking care of family," he said. Sanchez is far from alone. Earlier this month, the AARP's Public Policy Institute released a report showing that, in 2009, there were 42.1 million people caring for an adult family member, partner or friend with chronic conditions or disabilities. Were these unpaid caregivers to receive payment for their services, the report found, they would have received a total of $450 billion in 2009 alone. In Connecticut, there were 711,000 unpaid caregivers in 2009, and they did $5.8 billion in uncompensated work.
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