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Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update - The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving

Family support is critical to remaining in one’s home and in the community, but often comes at substantial costs to caregivers themselves, to their families, and to society.  If family caregivers were no longer available, the economic cost to the U.S. health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems would increase astronomically.

See also: Full report PDF.

Man holding older woman's hands-the high price of family caregiving

Caregiving costs impact family finances, health, careers and quality of life. — Photo by: ERproductions Ltd/Blend/Corbis

This Insight on the Issues, part of the Valuing the Invaluable series on the economic value of family caregiving, updates national and individual state estimates of the economic value of family caregiving using the most current available data. In 2009, about 42.1 million family caregivers in the U.S. provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time, and about 61.6 million provided care at some time during the year. 

The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $450 billion in 2009, up from an estimated $375 billion in 2007.  The report also explains the contributions of family caregivers, details the costs and consequences of providing family care, and provides policy recommendations to better support caregiving families.

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