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Family Caregiving: The Facts

  • More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability (AARP, 2008).
  • An estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities (NAC, 2004).
  • Unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 90% of the long-term care (IOM, 2008).
  • The majority (83%) are family caregivers—unpaid persons such as family members, friends, and neighbors of all ages who are providing care for a relative (FCA, 2005)
  • The typical caregiver is a 46 year old woman with some college experience and provides more than 20 hours of care each week to her mother (NAC, 2004).
  • The out-of-pocket costs for caregivers who are caring for someone who was age 50 or older averaged $5,531 in 2007. About 37% of caregivers for someone age 50 and older reduced their work hours or quit their job in 2007 (AARP, 2008).
  • Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%) (NAC, 2004).
  • About 73% of surveyed caregivers said praying helps them cope with caregiving stress, 61% said that they talk with or seek advice from friends or relatives, and 44% read about caregiving in books or other materials (NAC, 2004).
  • About 30% said they need help keeping the person they care for safe and 27% would like to find easy activities to do with the person they care for (NAC, 2004).
  • Half (53%) of caregivers who said their health had gotten worse due to caregiving also said the decline in their health has affected their ability to provide care (NAC, 2006).
  • Caregivers said they do not go to the doctor because they put their family’s needs first (67% said that is a major reason), or they put the care recipient’s needs over their own (57%). More than half (51%) said they do not have time to take care of themselves and almost half (49%) said they are too tired to do so (NAC, 2004).

References

AARP, 2008: Houser, A., et al., AARP Public Policy Institute, Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Family Caregiving, 2008 Update, 2008, http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-11-2008/i13_caregiving.html

FCA, 2005: Family Caregiver Alliance, Fact Sheet: Selected Caregiver Statistics, 2005. Available: http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=439

IOM, 2008: Institute on Medicine, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, April 2008, www.nap.edu/catalog/12089.html

NAC, 2004: National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP, Caregiving in the U.S., 2004, http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/us_caregiving_1.pdf [PDF-1.1Mb]

NAC, 2006: National Alliance for Caregiving, Evercare Study of Caregivers in Decline, 2006, www.caregiving.org/data/Caregivers%20in%20Decline%20Study-FINAL-lowres.pdf [PDF-950Kb]

 

 

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