We can’t ignore caregivers

Eight in ten Americans say that caregiving is the “new normal” in American families.

Forty million Americans are currently caregivers—almost as many as the number of Americans holding student debt.

These caregivers are providing assistance to nearly 50 million adults receiving care. Half became caregivers in the past year.

The massive generation of Boomers, 75 million strong today,4 is creating both an age wave and a caregiving crunch as it moves into its seventh decade. In fewer than 10 years, the first Boomer will turn 80, when the likelihood of needing care increases even more. On the one hand, it’s a tremendous accomplishment that life spans have increased, growing steadily at roughly two months per year over the past several decades. On the other hand, the advances in how long we can expect to live have not been matched with how long we can expect to stay healthy: our healthspans. For many health issues, the age of typical onset has not risen to keep pace with our longer lives. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]A few health conditions, notably diabetes and conditions related to obesity, have actually become more common and are diagnosed earlier in life[/inlinetweet].

Family members provide more than 95% of non-professional care for older adults who do not live in nursing homes.
‣ In total, family caregivers provide 37 billion hours of care annually.
‣ Caregivers looking after elderly family and friends log 3 times as many hours per year as professional caregivers.
‣ The estimated economic value of family and friend caregiving is roughly $500 billion per year—3 times greater than Medicaid’s expenditures on professional long-term care.


Caregiving is a Complex and Challenging Life Stage: Caregiving is a major and transformative life stage in which most of us will participate as caregivers, care recipients— or both. While the duration and particulars vary, most instances of caregiving involve significant shifts in the roles, responsibilities and relationship to a loved one.

The Journey of Caregiving is filled with Ups and Downs: Caregiving is a journey rife with emotions, with the ultimate goal of maintaining the dignity of the care recipient. It is a journey filled with honor, gratitude, and resilience, as well as stress, anxiety and fear. Six factors influence the journey:
1. The relationship between the caregiver and the recipient of care;
2. The presence (or absence) of others on a caregiving team;
3. The services and help needed;
4. The recipient’s health condition and prognosis. The duration and intensity of care.

Even with all these statistics pharma, for the most part, continues to ignore caregivers.  In research, for example, Oncologists repeatedly wanted hand out materials that addressed the needs of caregivers and websites where caregivers could go for information.