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  • Grades 11-12

Family and Caregiving: The Challenge of Caring for Our Elders

Quick Facts About the Aging Population and Their Caregivers

By 2030, the entire Baby Boom generation will be older than 65 and older Americans will make up 21 percent of the population (up from 15 percent today).

More than 1 in 6 Americans working full-time or part-time report assisting with the care of an elderly or disabled family member, relative, or friend.

In the absence of a spouse, the care of a family member most often falls on the shoulders of a daughter or daughter-in-law.

Women on average spend 17 years of their lives caring for children and 18 years caring for elderly parents.

One study found that family caregivers lose an average of $659,000 over their lifetimes as a result of reductions in their salaries and retirement benefits.

In a 2012 study, more than 75 percent of caregivers reported that isolation was their number one source of stress.

In Hawaii, the 2017 Kapuna Caregivers program offers up to $70 a benefits to support those family caregivers who are also employed.

The annual median income for a home health aide or paid caregiver is $13,000 per year.

Home health aides do not have the right to a union, do not have protections under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and those privately employed are excluded from overtime protections.

Supporting family caregivers is a global issue:

● In Australia, the value of unpaid caregivers’ contributions in time and labor is estimated at more than 1 billion Australian dollars per week.

● Across the European Union, 42 percent of non-working caregivers are in the lowest income bracket.

● More than 37 percent of French unpaid caregivers have increased their intake of prescription drugs or painkillers.

● In Italy, unpaid caregivers are entitled to as many as three days of fully-paid leave from their former jobs per month for up to two years.

● The German government provides subsidies to relieve unpaid caregivers through respite care and short-term care.

● In India, up to 97 percent of unpaid caregivers and their families live below the poverty line.


“Caregiver Profile: The Typical Caregiver.” U.S. National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute, August 2015.

“Caregiver Statistics: Work and Caregiving.” Family Caregiver Alliance, 2016.

“Caregiving in the U.S. 2015.” National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute, 2015.

Colby, Sandra L., and Ortman, Jennifer M. “The Baby Boom Cohort in the United States: 2012 to 2060.” Current Population Reports, May 2014.

“Global State of Care” International Alliance of Career Organizations, 2018.

“Older People Projected to Outnumber Children for First Time in U.S. History.”, March 13, 2018.

Redfoot, Donald, Feinberg, Lynn, et al. “The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap: A Look at Future Declines in the Availability of Family Caregivers.” AARP Public Policy Institute, 2013.

Reinhard, Susan C., Young, Heather M., et al. “Home Alone Revisited: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Care.” Home Alone Alliance, 2019.

About the authors

Allison Milewski

Allison Milewski has developed media education resources for a range of award-winning filmmakers and national media organizations, including PBS LearningMedia, Independent Television Services (ITVS), Latino Public Broadcasting, HBO Documentaries, and Tribeca Film Institute. She is also the founder of the international media education program,