- In 2007, approximately 34 million family members were providing informal caregiving at any given point.
- Approximately 52 million family members provided informal caregiving at some time during 2007.
- The estimated value of unpaid caregiving for 2007 was $375 billion.
- This is an increase over the 2006 estimated value of unpaid caregiving, which was $350 billion.
- $375 billion is comparable to the total sales of Wal-Mart stores in the same year.
- The economic value of unpaid eldercare was more than long-term care Medicaid spending in all states.
- In 36 states, the economic value of caregiving was more than three times as high as long-term Medicaid spending.
- The economic value of unpaid eldercare, including caring for those with Alzheimer's, was more than three times as high as spending on home- and community-based Medicaid services.
- In 19 states, the economic value of caregiving was more than ten times as high as home- and community-based Medicaid spending.
- Unpaid caregiving includes personal care and help with daily tasks as well as assistance with complex medical procedures and administering medications.
- The “typical” caregiver in the United States is a 46-year-old woman working outside the home who provides more than 20 hours a week of eldercare to her mother.
- Those providing eldercare reported spending an average of $5,531 out-of-pocket for caregiving expenses in 2007.
- Long-distance caregivers reported the highest out-of-pocket expenses ($8,728) while those caring for someone nearby reported average out-of-pocket caregiving expenses of $4,570.
The report points out that family caregivers are the “backbone” of the United States’ long-term care system. I couldn’t agree more.
Valuing the invaluable: The economic value of family caregiving, 2008 update. AARP Public Policy Institute. 2008 http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/i13_caregiving.pdf