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caregiving facts

  • 50% of all direct care in the U.S. is given for free by families.2







  • The average unpaid family caregiver is 60 years old.2
  • 63% of elderly needing long-term care rely exclusively on family and friends.6
  • 95% of elderly living in the community with limitations in activities of daily living have a family member involved in care.7
  • The average American woman can expect to spend 17 years caring for a child and 18 years caring for an elderly parent.1
  • One study found that on average, a worker who takes care of an older relative loses $659,139 in lost wages, pension benefits and Social Security income.1
  • The average length of time spent on family caregiving is eight years.2
  • It is estimated that by 2020, 1.2 million people over age 65 will have no living children, siblings or spouse. 2
  • By 2050, the U.S. will need three times as many paid long-term care workers as are employed now to meet the needs of the aging baby boom generation. 3
  • Nearly one out of four U.S. households (23 percent or 22.4 million households) contain at least one caregiver for a relative or friend at least 50 years old.3
  • In 2000, one-fourth of all adults reported caring for a disabled family member in the past year -- 50 million volunteer caregivers. 2
  • The average caregiving load of direct services is 18 hours/week. For those who need assistance with two or more activities of daily living, the average rises to 40 hours/wk. 2
  • More than 900,000 people over 65 received home health care services in 2000; 65% were women.4
  • About 80% of community care is provided by family caregivers, at an approximate economic value of $257 billion (in 2000 dollars) annually, including services such as transportation, supervision, financial management, feeding, bathing, lifting, etc.3
  • If the work of unpaid family caregivers were replaced by paid home care providers, estimates indicated this could cost $196 billion.5
  • Over 40% of family caregivers provide some type of "nursing care" for their loved ones, such as giving medications, changing bandages, managing machinery and monitoring vital signs.8
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that personal and home care assistance will be the fourth-fastest growing occupation by 2006.13

1 "Long-term Care Report," Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate, June 2002.

2 "Taking Care-Ethical Caregiving in our Aging Society", The President's Council on Bioethics, September 2005

3 "The Older Americans Act, National Family Caregiver Support Program, Compassion in Action", Admin on Aging, 2004

4 National Center for Health Statistics

5 "Long-term Care Report," Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate, June 2002.

6 Family Caregiver Alliance, from AOA report "America's Families Care" 2000.

7 Statement on LTC by Jeanetter Takamura, Asst. Secretary for Aging, HHS, before Senate Special Committee on Aging, Oct. 4, 1999.

8 National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) Random Sample Survey of Family Caregivers, Summer 2000 and C. Levine, Rough Crossings: Family Caregivers' Odysseys through the Health Care System. New York: United Hospital Fund, 1998.

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posted nov. 21, 2006

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