"There are four kinds of people:
those who will become caregivers,
those who are caregivers,
those who were caregivers,
and those who will need caregiving themselves."
- Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
National Family Caregiver Month takes place each year in November. It is a time where the focus is shifted to those who do so much to care for family members in need. It is also a chance to share information about caregiving as well as shine a light on the impact that caregiving has on families, recipients of care, and those who are the caregivers.
Following, we’ve compiled some statistics, taken from the 2015 Report on Caregiving in the U.S. This report was compiled by The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, and information contained within the report is based on data collected in 2014.
At the end of the article is a list of other helpful resources and information for caregivers.
What is Caregiving? What Does a Caregiver Do?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), caregiving can take on many forms:
Caregiving can range from providing short- or long-term financial assistance or running errands to providing comprehensive round-the-clock care. Although some people receive care from paid caregivers, most rely on unpaid assistance from families, friends and neighbors.
Caregiving may also include activities, such as: helping with personal needs, household chores to managing a person’s finances, arranging for outside services, or visiting regularly to see how the person is doing. It does not require that the caregiver live with the person1.
Statistics on Caregivers in the United States
- An estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child.2
- The estimated prevalence of caring for an adult is 16.6%, or 39.8 million Americans.3
- Nearly 1 in 10 caregivers is 75 years of age or older (7%).
- Older caregivers are more likely to be caregiving without other unpaid help, due to the likelihood of being retired and/or on a fixed income.
- On average, caregivers of adults have been in their role for 4 years, with a quarter having provided care for 5 years or more (24%).
- Higher-hour caregivers are twice as likely to have been in their caregiving role for 10 or more years.
- The typical care recipient is female (65%) and averages 69 years old.
- Nearly half of caregivers provide care to someone 75 years old or older (47%).
- Among the top reasons that caregivers are needed, the top issues reported include “old age” (14%), Alzheimer’s or dementia (7%), mobility (7%), and mental/emotional health issues (5%).
- A majority of caregivers help their loved one with at least one Activity of Daily Living (ADL; 59%), most commonly helping their care recipient get in and out of beds and chairs (43%).
- 6 in 10 caregivers are female.
- The average caregivers’ age is 49.2.
- Among caregivers ages 75 or older, 84% live within 20 minutes of their care recipient (vs. 76% of caregivers ages 65–74, 72% ages 50–64, and 74% ages 18–49).
- 8 in 10 primary caregivers (81%) live within 20 minutes of their care recipient, compared with less than two-thirds (63%) of nonprimary caregivers.
- On average, caregivers ages 18 to 49 provide 21.7 hours of care weekly. This number rises to 34.0 hours of care among caregivers ages 75 or older.
- Nearly 9 in 10 Asian American caregivers provide transportation to their care recipient (85%), more than either white (78%) or African American caregivers (72%). Asian American caregivers (38%) are also more likely to arrange outside services than African American or Hispanic caregivers (28% and 28% respectively).
Resources for Caregivers
- Is the principal agency of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services designated to carry out the provisions of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA)
- Promotes the well-being of older individuals by providing services and programs designed to help them live independently in their homes and communities
- Empowers the federal government to distribute funds to the states for supportive services for individuals over the age of 60
- Serves as the Federal agency responsible for increasing access to community supports, while focusing attention and resources on the unique needs of older Americans and people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers
- Offers information, tools and materials to assist caregivers and their loved ones in making informed healthcare decisions
- Designed to help caregivers address challenging issues and work effectively with Medicare to ensure their family members and friends receive the best possible care.
- Founded in the late 1970s
- Acts as a public voice for caregivers
- Features information on programs at national, state and local levels that support and sustain caregivers
- Established in 1996
- Nonprofit coalition of national organizations focused on improving the lives of family caregivers
- Members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, government agencies, and corporations
- Dedicated to improving quality of life for families and their care recipients through research, innovation, and advocacy
- Established in 2000
- Provides grants to States and Territories, based on their share of the population aged 70 and over, to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible.
- a public service of the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Is a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services
- Created by the United Hospital Fund
- Provides easy-to-use guides to help family caregivers and health care providers work closely together to plan and implement safe and smooth transitions for chronically or seriously ill patients
- brings together caregivers and volunteers through online communities that organize daily life during times of medical crisis or caregiver exhaustion in neighborhoods and communities worldwide
- Is a leading online resource for family caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones
- Offers helpful content, advice from leading experts, a supportive community of caregivers, and a comprehensive directory of eldercare services
- Expert-reviewed content includes advice from a team of more than 50 trusted leaders in geriatric medicine, law, finance, housing, and other key areas of healthcare and eldercare
- Founded in 2006 by the Case Management Society of America (CMSA)
- Empowers/facilitates communication between caregivers and the recipient's care team by bringing together industry leaders who have created resources to help caregivers better understand transitional challenges and empower them as part of a collective caregiving team.
- Raises awareness about the core challenges faced by caregivers
- Established in 2001 as a program of Family Caregiver Alliance
- Works to advance the development of high-quality, cost-effective policies and programs for caregivers in every state in the country
- Serves as a central source of information on caregiving and long-term care issues for policy makers, service providers, media, funders and family caregivers throughout the country
Caregiver Action Network (CAN)
- Includes several helpful resources for caregivers, including: tips, a "Resource Toolkit", shared stories (with opportunities to share), information on agencies and organizations in your area, and more
- CAN also provides support for rare disease caregivers at www.rarecaregivers.org.
2. Using a late 2014 estimate of 239,340,657 Americans ages 18 or older, the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 study estimates 43.5 million adults have been caregivers to an adult or child in the 12 months prior to the study.↩
3. Adding the estimated 13.9 percent caring for an adult only to the 2.7 percent caring for both a child and adult yields an estimated prevalence of caring for an adult of 16.6 percent. [source: Caregiving in the U.S. 2015].↩