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Caregiving Statistics

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* More than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.

* Caregiving is no longer predominantly a women's issue. Men now make up 44 percent of the caregiving population. Source: National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) Random Sample Survey of Family Caregivers, Summer 2000, Unpublished.

* Caregivers providing care for a family member over the age of 50 routinely underestimate the length of time they will spend as caregivers -- only 46 percent expected to be caregivers longer than two years. In fact the average length of time spent on caregiving was about eight years, with approximately one-third of respondents providing care for 10 years or more. Source: MetLife Juggling Act Study, Balancing Caregiving with Work and the Costs of Caregiving, Met Life Mature Market Institute, November 1999.

* Most women will spend 17 years caring for children and 18 years helping an elderly parent. Source: 101 Facts on the Status of Working Women produced by business and Professional Women's Foundation.

Economics of caregiving

* The value of the services family caregivers provide for "free" is estimated to be $257 billion a year. That is twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services. Source: Peter S. Arno, "Economic Value of Informal Caregiving," presented at the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, Feb. 24, 2002.

* Caregiving families tend to have lower incomes than non-caregiving families. Thirty-five percent of average American households have incomes of under $30,000. Among caregiving families the percentage is 43 percent. Source: National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) Random Sample Survey of Family Caregivers, Summer 2000.

* Of the estimated 2.5 million Americans who need assistive technology such as wheelchairs, 61 percent can't afford it. Source: Lisa I. Iezzoni, M.D., M.Sc., "When Walking Fails: Personal and Health Policy Considerations," Research in Profile, a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, March 2002.

* Out-of-pocket medical expenses for a family that has a disabled member who needs help with activities of daily living (eating, toileting, etc.) are more than 2.5 percent greater (11.2 percent of income compared to 4.1 percent) than for a family without a disabled member. Source: Drs. Altman, Cooper and Cunningham, "The Case of Disability in the Family: Impact on Health Care Utilization and Expenditures for Non-disabled Members" Milbank Quarterly 77 (1) pages 39-75, 1999.

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