Caregiving Is A Growing Public Health Priority

Caregiving can be a difficult, stressful time for caregivers and their families.  It takes a toll on caregivers’ health and well-being, and accounts for significant costs to families and society as well.

  1.   Family caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality

  2.  More than 53% of caregivers indicate that their decline in health compromises their ability to provide care for their loved one and family.

To accommodate the growing need of family caregivers federal, state and local governments, healthcare organizations and private groups are increasing their resources, support and assistance to family caregivers.

Facts About Care Giving And Caregivers

The American Society on Aging offers these facts about Senior Citizens, Senior Care and Caregivers in America

  1. Almost 100 million people in the United States have one or more chronic conditions. Over the next 25 years, this number is expected to increase to 134 million Americans.

  2. Nearly one in four U.S. households is involved in caring for a relative or friend aged 50 or older.

  3. Care giving remains primarily a woman's issue. More than 72%  of caregivers are female, mostly wives and adult daughters.

  4. An estimated 25% to 40% of women care for both their older relatives and their children.

  5. The average age of a caregiver is 57.

  6. More than one in three caregivers is 65 or older.

  7. More than 51% of all caregivers work outside the home, care for their families and also provide care for an older adult.

  8. An estimated 11% of caregivers quit their jobs to provide care. For adult daughters, this number rises to 14%.

  9. The duration of care giving can last from less than a year to over 40 years.

  10. More than 81% of caregivers provide unpaid assistance seven days a week. 11% provide round the clock care.

  11. In the twenty-first century the demands placed on family and other informal caregivers will escalate, affecting nearly every American family.


What Is Senior Care and Senior Caregiving?

Quite simply, Senior Care and Senior Caregiving means providing for the needs of an older person.  Senior Care can include assistance with activities of daily living, health care, home care, companionship and more.

Caregivers are the people - spouses, daughters, sons, families, friends, healthcare workers and others - who provide care and services needed by older persons who are disabled and/or in need assistance with normal activities of daily living, medications and other life sustaining activities.

  1.   Seniors needing this type of care may be living in their own homes or apartments, in assisted living or nursing homes or elsewhere. 

  2.   They often have a chronic illness or disabling condition that makes it difficult or impossible for them to care for themselves.

The Need For Family Caregivers

Continues To Grow In America

The family is one of the most important providers for the elderly. In fact, the majority of caregivers for the elderly are often members of their own family, most often a daughter or a granddaughter.

More often than most of us may realize, families and friends provide Seniors with a home and family life as they age.  If Seniors wish to remain in their own home, they help see to their needs, visit with them and spend time with them.  They offer to help in and around the house, run errands for them.  They make sure they can get to church, the bank and medical appointments, and see to many other kinds of needs their older friends and family members experience as they age.

The need for Senior care and caregivers is not just increasing, it is multiplying at a dizzying pace.  The sharp increase in the need for family caregiving is a direct response to (1) the dramatic rise in the number of older Americans living significantly longer lives and (2) their increased need for care as they age. 

  1. According to the Administration on Aging, when all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old in 2030, the Senior population will number more than 71 million people.  Unfortunately, the number of caregivers able to provide care for the growing Senior population will not grow at the same rate -or even come close to meeting the need.

  1. The number of people 65 years old and older is expected to rise by 101% between 2000 and 2030.

  1. Over that same 30-year period, the number of family members who will be available to provide care for Seniors needing care is expected to increase by only 25%.

  1. Social Security, pensions, retirement funds, personal savings and other sources of income for Seniors often are not enough to cover the rising costs of assisted living and care.

  1. Medicare and Medicaid generally don’t provide coverage for informal or custodial caregiving. 

  1. That means it is up to an older spouse or adult child or other family members to provide the care, cover the costs and supply housing for older family members in need of assistance and care as they age.

State-administered programs offer many different types of services to support family caregivers and informal caregivers.

  1.   Respite Care*

  2.   Caregiving Information & Assistance

  3.   Caregiver Education & Training

  4.   Care Management & Family Consultation

  5.   Homemaker / Chore / Personal Care

  6.   Assistive Technology

  7.   Emergency Response

  8.   Counseling (Individual or Family)

  9.   Home Modifications

  10.   Support Groups

  11.   Transportation

  12.   Consumable Supplies

  13.   Legal Consultation

  14.   Financial Counseling

  15.   Family Meetings

  16.   Cash Grants

  17.   Other Services

  18.   eHealth Information

Services for caregivers will vary both by state and by program.  In most programs (and in most states) respite care tops the list of support services porovided.


* Respite care allows caregiver's time away from their care duties to take care of their own needs by providing a trained worker or volunteer to be with the family member while the caregiver is away. Your local area agency on aging (AAA) is a good place to start looking for information on respite care.


Families that provide housing and care for parents, relatives and friends as they age is on the rise.

More and more Seniors and families are considering their options and planning for their future health and care needs as they age.

More than 72% of all caregivers are female, mostly wives and adult daughters.  More than 51% work outside the home, care for their families and care for an older adult. 

The U.S. and State Governments offer service programs to support seniors, families and caregivers.

There is a wealth of information on the Internet

designed to assist family members and caregivers

National Council on the Aging
The National Council on the Aging is an association of organizations and professionals dedicated to promoting the dignity, self-determination, well being, and contributions of older persons. The Senior’s Corner section of the site contains health related resources and tips.

Web Site:

American Society on Aging
The American Society on Aging is a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of those working with older adults and their families. Site offers useful resources on a variety of aging-related topics.

Web Site:

Alzheimer’s Association CareFinder

This site provides assistance to those caring for someone who has Alzheimer's disease find good care in their community.

Web site:

Family Caregiver Alliance

The site contains a wide array of publications and services based on caregiver needs, including a Family Care Navigator.

Web site:

Familycaregiving 101

The site is designed to provide caregivers with the basic tools, skills and information they need to protect their own physical and mental health while they provide high quality care for their loved one.

Web site:

National Alliance for Caregiving

The site contains publications and resources for caregivers, including the Family Care Resource Connection, where you can find reviews and ratings on over 1,000 books, videos, Web sites, and other materials on caregiving.

Web site:

National Family Caregivers Association

The site offers a virtual library of information and educational materials for family caregivers.

Web site:  Provides Free, Reliable Senior Information and Resources

The content on is provided as a courtesy for our site visitors. The information, resources, links, advertisements and other material on AsYouAge does not constitute a professional opinion or advice; nor does it constitute an endorsement of any organization or the information, products and/or services they may offer. AsYouAge reviews and updates its content regularly when new and relevant information is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional advice in any area: health, medical, legal, insurance, financial or any other area. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider, or caregiver, attorney, financial, insurance expert or other specialist prior to starting, dropping or changing your current program or have questions or concerns  regarding current or anticipated issues.


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Families are becoming more actively involved in caring for older family members, and the number of families caring for elders at home will continue to increase into the future.

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