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Caregiver Statistics

Statistics on Family Caregivers and Family Caregiving

Caregiving Population
Economics of Caregiving
Impact on Family Caregiver's Health
Caregiving and Work
Caregiving and Health Care
Caregiver Self-Awareness
State by State Statistics

Caregiving Population

The value of the services family caregivers provide for "free," when caring for older adults, is estimated to be $375 billion a year. That is almost twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services combined ($158 billion).

Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Family Caregiving;

National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. March 2009

 

More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009

 

The typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for her widowed 69-year-old mother who does not live with her. She is married and employed. Approximately 66% of family caregivers are women. More than 37% have children or grandchildren under 18 years old living with them.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. November 2009

 

1.4 million children ages 8 to 18 provide care for an adult relative; 72% are caring for a parent or grandparent; and 64% live in the same household as their care recipient. Fortunately, most are not the sole caregiver.

National Alliance for Caregiving and the United Hospital Fund, Young Caregivers in the U.S., 2005.

 

20 hours per week is the average number of hours family caregivers spend caring for their loved ones while 13% of family caregivers are providing 40 hours of care a week or more.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. November 2009

 

Family caregivers are the foundation of long-term care nationwide, exceeding Medicaid long-term care spending in all states.

Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Family Caregiving;

National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. March 2009

 

51% of care recipients live in their own home, 29% live with their family caregiver, and 4% live in nursing homes and assisted living.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. November 2009

 

36% of family caregivers care for a parent and 7 out of 10 caregivers are caring for loved ones over 50 years old.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. November 2009

 

14% of family caregivers care for a special needs child with an estimated 16.8 million caring for special needs children under 18 years old. 55% of these caregivers are caring for their own children.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. November 2009

 

78% of adults living in the community and in need of long-term care depend on family and friends as their only source of help.

Thompson, L. Long-term care: support for family caregivers. 2004

 

Economics of Caregiving

Women who are family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty and five times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Study conducted by researchers at Rice University

and data compiled from the Health and Retirement Study

funded by the National Institute of Aging and conducted by the University of Michigan, 1992-2004

 

Caregiving families (families in which one member has a disability) have median incomes that are more than 15% lower than non-caregiving families. In every state and DC the poverty rate is higher among families with members with a disability than among families without.

Disability and American Families: 2000, Census 2000 Special Reports, July 2005.

 

During the 2009 economic downturn, 1 in 5 family caregivers had to move into the same home with their loved ones to cut expenses.

Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Family Caregiving;

National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. March 2009

 

47% of working caregivers indicate an increase in caregiving expenses has caused them to use up ALL or MOST of their savings.

Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Family Caregiving;

National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. March 2009

 

The average family caregiver for someone 50 years or older spends $5,531 per year on out of pocket caregiving expenses in 2007 which was more than 10% of the median income for a family caregiver that year.

Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Family Caregiving, 2008 Update. AARP

 

Impact on Family Caregiver's Health

23% of family caregivers caring for loved ones for 5 years or more report their health is fair or poor.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009

 

Stress of family caregiving for persons with dementia has been shown to impact a person's immune system for up to three years after their caregiving ends thus increasing their chances of developing a chronic illness themselves.

Drs. Janice-Kiecolt Glaser and Ronald Glaser,

"Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6."

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 30, 2003.

 

Nearly three quarters (72%) of family caregivers report not going to the doctor as often as they should and 55% say they skip doctor appointments for themselves. 63% of caregivers report having poor eating habits than non-caregivers and 58% indicate worse exercise habits than before caregiving responsibilities.

Evercare Study of Caregivers in Decline: A Close-Up Look at Health Risks of Caring for a Loved One.

National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. 2006.

 

20% of employed female caregivers over 50 years old report symptoms of depression compared to 8% of their non-caregiving peers.

MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Costs;

National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Mature Market Institute. February 2010

 

40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression.

Zarit, S. (2006). Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective

 

More than 1 in 10 (11%) of family caregivers report that caregiving has caused their physical health to deteriorate.

How Do Family Caregivers Fare? A Closer Look at their Experiences. Center on Aging Society. 2005.

 

A wife's hospitalization increased her husband's chances of dying within a month by 35%. A husband's hospitalization boosted his wife's mortality risk by 44%.

Nicholas D. Christakis, Professor, Health-care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston and Suzanne

Salamon, M.D., Associate Chief, Geriatric Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston,

New England Journal of Medicine, Feb. 16, 2006

 

Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. This level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a family caregiver's life.

Elissa S. Epel, Dept of Psychiatry, Univ of Calif, SF, et al,

From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dec 7, 2004, Vol 101, No. 49.

 

Caregiving and Work

Six in 10 family caregivers are employed.

MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Costs;

National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Mature Market Institute. February 2010

 

73% of family caregivers who care for someone over the age of 18 either work or have worked while providing care; 66% have had to make some adjustments to their work life, from reporting late to work to giving up work entirely; and 1 in 5 family caregivers have had to take a leave of absence.

Caregiving in the United States;

National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. November 2009

 

64% of working parents caring for a special needs child believe that caregiving responsibility has negatively impacted their work performance.

Care.com and National Family Caregivers Association: State of Care Index. 2009

 

American businesses can lose as much as $34 billion each year due to employees' need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older.

MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S.

MetLife Mature Market Institute and National Alliance for Caregiving Business. July 2006

 

Caregivers caring for elderly loved ones cost employers 8% more in health care costs estimated to be worth $13.4 billion per year.

MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Costs;

National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Mature Market Institute. February 2010

 

Over 65% of employers believe that health benefits improve employees' health. Sixty percent (60%) believe it increases moral and 39% believe it increases productivity.

Job-based Health Insurance in the Balance: Employer Views of Coverage in the Workplace.

Collins, S.R. et al, The Commonwealth Fund,

Commonwealth Fund Supplement to the 2003 National Organization Study. March 2004

 

Caregiving and Health Care

Up to 70% of family caregivers manage medications for their loved ones.

Caregiver Action Network (National Family Caregivers Association) 
Insight into the activities, concerns and interests of higher-burden family caregivers, October 2012.

 

22% of family caregivers say they need help communicating with physicians.

National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, Caregiving in the U.S. 2004.

 

Focus group research suggests that family caregivers do not recognize that public policy has a direct impact on their day-to-day lives. Many are uncomfortable even thinking there might be a connection.

Lake Snell Perry & Associates, A Report on Formative Focus Groups,

conducted for the Family Caregivers Self-Awareness and Empowerment Project,

a joint program of the National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving, September 2001.

 

Caregiver Self-Awareness

Over 90% of family caregivers become more proactive about seeking resources and skills they need to assist their care recipient after they have self-identified.

National Family Caregivers Association, Survey of Self-Identified Family Caregivers, 2001.

 

83% of self-identified family caregivers believe their self-awareness led to increased confidence when talking to healthcare professionals about their loved one's care.

National Family Caregivers Association, Survey of Self-Identified Family Caregivers, 2001.

 

For over 75% of family caregivers, it was the act of helping their loved one with personal care that contributed to their self-identification.

National Family Caregivers Association, Survey of Self-Identified Family Caregivers, 2001.

 

For 60% of family caregivers, their loved one's diagnosis and their interaction with the health care system made them aware that they were family caregivers.

National Family Caregivers Association, Survey of Self-Identified Family Caregivers, 2001.

 

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State by State Statistics

The economic value of family caregiving is detailed here in a state-by-state comparison of the number of family caregivers in the country, the number of hours they spend on caregiving responsibilities, and the market value of those services. As noted above, the most recent estimate of the value of family caregivers' services is $306 billion annually. This report is based on the state-by-state statistics for 2004 and prepared in August of 2006 by NFCA and the Family Caregiver Alliance's National Center of Caregiving in conjunction with Peter S. Arno, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The data and methodology are based on Dr. Arno's previous study, Economic Value of Informal Caregiving: 2004. 

Click here to download Peter Arno's PowerPoint on the Economic Value of Informal Caregiving. 

Note: Survey statistics sometimes seem to contradict each other. That's because each study or survey has its own methodology, its own set of variables, data sources, etc. It doesn't mean one is right and the other is wrong. It does mean you need to understand how the survey was developed and constructed. Comparing Survey Stats and Understanding Why They Differ explains this in more detail.