Who are the Caregivers? (Are you a Caregiver?)

Caregivers, caretakers, & carers all mean the same thing-they all refer to anyone who as assumed the responsibility for looking after someone. Caregiving requires an intensive effort in the responsibility for the safety, welfare & activities of a loved one. Caregivers entail family& friends: parents, siblings, spouses, nieces, nephews, grandparents, neighbors, housemates, or anyone who helps. A caregiver can live near or far across the city, state or country. If you provide regular assistance to a loved one consider yourself ....a CAREGIVER!

Family Caregiving Statistics 

Compiled by the National Family Caregivers Association

More than one quarter (26.6%) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during the past year. Based on current census data, that translates into more than 54 million people.
Source: National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) Random Sample Survey of 1000 Adults, Funded by CareThere.com, Summer, 2000.

Caregiving is no longer predominantly a women's issue. Men now make up 44% of the caregiving population.
Source: National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) Random Sample Survey of 1000 Adults, Funded by CareThere.com, Summer, 2000.

The value of the services family caregivers provide for "free" is estimated to be $196 billion a year.
Source: Health Affairs March/April 99 - as above.

Virtually one half of the US population has a chronic condition. Of these 41 million were limited in their daily activities. Twelve million are unable to go to school, to work, or to live independently.
Source: Chronic Care in America (Institute for Health & Aging, Univ. of CA/SF for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) 1996.

People over 85 years of age are the fastest growing segment of the population. Half of them need some help with personal care.
Source: US Bureau of the Census Statistical Brief, Sixty Five Plus in the United States, May 1995.

Elderly caregivers with a history of chronic illness themselves who are experiencing caregiving related stress have a 63% higher mortality rate than their non-caregiving peers.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, December 15, 1999, Vol. 282, No. 23.

The pool of family caregivers is dwindling. In 1990 there were 11 potential caregivers for each person needing care. In 2050 that ratio will be 4:1.
Source: Chronic Care in America - as above.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of "intense" family caregivers (those providing at least 21 hours of care a week) have suffered from depression. Some studies have shown that caregiver stress inhibits healing.
Source: National Family Caregivers Association/Fortis Long Term Care (Caregiving Across the Life Cycle) 1998; Lancet 1995;346 (Slowing of Wound Healing by Psychological Stress - Kiecolt-Glaser, JK et al).

Heavy duty caregivers, especially spousal caregivers, do not get consistent help from other family members. One study has shown that as many as three fourths of these caregivers are "going it alone".
Source: Caregiving Across the Life Cycle - as above.

Approximately 80% of home care services are provided by family caregivers.
Source: US General Accounting Office (GAO/HEHS 95-26, "Long-Term Care: Diverse, Growing Population Includes Millions of Americans of All Ages") 1994.

A recent study calculated that American businesses loses between $11 billion and $29 billion each year due to employees’ need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older.
Source: National Alliance for Caregiving/Met Life (Met Life Study of Employer Costs for Working Caregivers.

Fifty nine percent of the adult population either is or expects to be a family caregiver.
Source: National Family Caregivers Association (Random Sample Survey of 1,000 Adults Sponsored by Aleve).