How to Pick Out Impostor Scams: AARP Live Tonight at 10 ET

In Brief: Valuing the Invaluable: A New Look at the Economic Value of Family Caregiving

Alleviating Caregiver Stress

Preventing caregivers from being overwhelmed is essential for both economic and ethical reasons. Examples of policies that could be implemented at small fractions of the value of unpaid caregivers' services include:

  • Expand funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program. Total funding for that program for FY 2007 represents about one twentieth of 1 percent of the value of informal caregivers' contributions.
  • Provide adequate funding for the recently enacted Lifespan Respite Care Act. The amount authorized for FY 2008 is $40 million, or about one hundredth of 1 percent of the value of caregivers' contributions.
  • Provide a tax credit for caregiving. A $3,000 tax credit, the amount that would be provided as part of several federal legislative proposals, would help to offset some of the direct expenses of eligible caregivers. Many of these caregivers would still bear high costs associated with caregiving, including lost wages and employment benefits, lower retirement benefits, poorer health status, and higher medical expenses of their own.


Providing better supports for family caregivers is essential to the well-being of our health care system, our long-term care system, and our economy.


1 This definition includes the majority of caregiving, but it does not capture all of the informal caregiving that occurs in the United States. For example, it does not include those providing care to children under 18 with disabilities, caregivers under age 18 who are providing care to adults (primarily parents or grandparents), or grandparents providing care for grandchildren under the age of 18. Nor does it include caregivers who provide assistance to adults who have chronic health conditions but do not need assistance with daily activities such as bathing and dressing.

2 These surveys varied in the years they were conducted, the definitions of caregiving, and the age groups represented. We therefore adjusted estimates of the prevalence of caregiving to a common definition encompassing the entire adult population. Please see the full paper for the complete methodology.

*This In Brief summarizes the findings of the AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Brief Valuing the Invaluable: A New Look at the Economic Value of Family Caregiving

Written by Mary Jo Gibson and Ari Houser, AARP Public Policy Institute
June 2007
©2007 AARP
All rights are reserved and content may be reproduced, downloaded, disseminated, or transferred, for single use, or by nonprofit organizations for educational purposes, if correct attribution is made to AARP.
Public Policy Institute, AARP, 601 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20049

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Resource Center

Find tools, work sheets and tips on how to plan, prepare and succeed as a caregiver. Select a Caregiving Resource Center topic from the drop-down menu below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get free basic lenses at

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

grocery coupon center member benefit aarp

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.