Groundbreaking publication on caregiving in the U.S. now available…Caregiving
is valued at $257 billion annually…Study produced by National
Alliance for Caregiving, funded by MetLife Foundation
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New York, New York – Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - The value of
caregiving to society is estimated at $257 billion annually, with
many Americans holding a "second job" as caregiver, according to the
groundbreaking study, Caregiving in the U.S.
The study’s notable
44-page executive summary, highlighting valuable information for
policy makers, government officials, employers, academics and
community leaders, is now available. It was produced by the National
Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, and funded by MetLife Foundation.
key finding is that the responsibilities of caregiving can create
long-term problems in the workplace -- a growing concern as the
population ages and there are more instances of people living with
debilitating conditions like cancer, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
"This study should be reviewed by all those in policy-making
positions because of the ramifications it has for the workplace,
government programs, community, and family life," said Gail Hunt,
executive director of the National Alliance for Caregiving and a
member of the Policy Committee for the 2005 White House Conference
on Aging. "As we move forward, there will be a great need for
education, assistance and workplace adjustments."
The survey counts 44.4 million people as caregivers -- those who
provide unpaid care to another adult. 59% of these caregivers either
work, or have worked, while providing care. 62% made adjustments to
their work life by taking time away or leaving their jobs entirely.
"We learn from the report that with the shortage of healthcare
workers in the U.S., and the high cost of care, caregivers represent
the backbone of the way care is delivered," said Sibyl Jacobson,
president and CEO of MetLife Foundation, a supporter of Alzheimer’s
research and aging programs. "It directs attention to a growing
health concern -- the well-being of caregivers."
Some key highlights:
Almost four in ten (39%) caregivers are men, and 60% of them are
The "typical" caregiver is a 46-year-old woman with some college
education who works and spends more than 20 hours per week caring
for her mother.
83% of caregivers say they assist relatives.
Among caregivers who care for someone other than a spouse, the most
burdened caregivers say they make an average monthly financial
contribution of $347.
Almost 17% of caregivers say they provide 40 or more hours of care
The average length of care is 4.3 years, but three in ten caregivers
provide care for more than five years.
Caregivers age 50 and older, who tend to care for mothers and
grandmothers, are among those most likely to have provided care for
20 years or more.
Seventy-nine percent of people needing care are age 50 or older.
Caregivers say the main health problems for care recipients over 50
are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or other dementia.
Caregivers say younger recipients (ages 18-49) suffer mainly from
mental illness and depression.
Caregiving in the U.S. is based on a national survey of 6,139 adults
of whom 1,247 qualified as caregivers. The margin of error for the
sample size is 2.8 percent. Caregivers are defined as those 18 and
older who help another person 18 and older with at least one of
thirteen caregiving tasks, including: help managing finances,
grocery shopping, housework, transferring, dressing, toileting,
bathing, showering or eating.
The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) is a non-profit coalition
created in 1996 to support family caregivers and the professionals
who serve them. Recognizing that family caregivers provide important
societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well
being of older Americans, NAC was created to conduct research,
develop national projects, and increase public awareness of the
issues of family caregiving.
MetLife Foundation has supported Alzheimer’s disease research and
outreach activities for more than 20 years. MetLife Foundation has
awarded over $9.5 million in grants through its Awards for Medical
Research in Alzheimer’s Disease program, and has also provided
support to the Alzheimer’s Association for initiatives including
caregiving videos, resources for the Hispanic community and the Safe
Return identification program. Recently, MetLife Foundation was the
sponsor of The Forgetting, an Emmy-winning primetime PBS documentary
and outreach program on the disease. For information about MetLife
Foundation, please visit www.metlife.org.
download a copy of Caregiving in the U.S.: Executive Summary, please
visit the National Alliance for Caregiving Web site, www.caregiving.org.
For a hard copy, please write: AARP Fulfillment, 601 E Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20049 and indicate Publication D18196 on the
envelope. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery.