Caregivers in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

A caregiver is a person who provides help to an individual who requires assistance with daily living due to old age, disease, a mental disorder, or disability. Caregivers can be paid, but are often unpaid family members or other persons from the individual’s social network. Typical tasks of caregivers include helping the individual to eat, bathe, dress, and use the toilet, as well as pay bills, clean the house, manage medicine, and monitor health. Caregiving can be highly stressful for caregivers, especially when caring for someone who is severely disabled or suffers from mental problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2017, around 74 percent of caregivers in the U.S. stated their health was excellent or good. As of that time, Millennials accounted for around 34 percent of caregivers, while Generation Xers accounted for 22 percent and Baby Boomers for 37 percent. Most caregivers became caregivers because they wanted to support a loved one or have a close relationship with the care recipient and 91 percent of caregivers stated they liked helping the care recipient and enjoy spending time with them. However, caregivers also admitted to often feeling tired and sad during their caregiving experience. On average family caregivers of seniors spend under 5,000 U.S. dollars a year providing care with the most common caregiving expenses including food and clothing, transportation, and medication and other medical costs.

Among those who work full or part-time jobs while caregiving, the responsibility of caregiving can prove an added burden. In 2017, around 41 percent of employed caregivers stated that their employer was very supportive of their caregiving role and only 9 percent said their employer was not supportive at all. Nevertheless, around 21 percent of employed caregivers had to reduce their working hours due to caregiving responsibilities and 13 percent had to resign from their job. In 20167, caregiving caused 35 percent of employed caregivers to miss at least one day of work, while 14 percent missed at least one week.

Most care recipients require care simply due to old age, however others require care due to a more serious and specific issue, such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. As of 2017, in California alone, there were around 1.6 million Alzheimer and dementia caregivers. Caring for these individuals can be particularly stressful with 86 percent of these caregivers reporting being stressed from their caregiving responsibilities compared to 72 percent of those caring for someone without the loss of mental abilities.

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