“Over 39 percent of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disabled.”
Each year, an increasing number of Americans are taking care of a loved one with a chronic condition or disability, or navigating old age. While being a caregiver may be an added and unexpected responsibility, it may be one of the most important roles you have taken on—or will have to take on one day. Being a caregiver is not always easy, and most of us are never prepared for it, but you’re not alone. According to the Caregiver Action Network:
- Today, there are approximately 90 million family caregivers in the U.S.
- Two out of every five adults are family caregivers.
- Over 39 percent of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disabled—up from 30 percent in 2010.
- More than 15 million family caregivers are providing care to more than 5 million loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
- The number of parents caring for children with special needs is increasing, too, due to the rise in cases of many childhood conditions.
- As many as 1 million Americans are caring in their homes for service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are suffering from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other wounds and illnesses.
- And, 36 percent of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 are family caregivers as well, including 1 million young people who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
Family caregiving is serious work and almost half of family caregivers perform complex medical/nursing tasks for their loved ones. Furthermore, family caregivers are the backbone of the Nation’s long-term care system, and it’s reported that caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year.
Being a family caregiver takes a lot of time and effort and the challenges can be both intellectual and emotional. You may have become a caregiver suddenly and without warning, or perhaps your role evolved over time. With the number of family caregivers growing every year, we honor the importance of the roles that they play and applaud you for giving back unconditionally.