Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

AARP Research on caregiving highlights U.S. adults' experiences with and feelings about caregiving, caregiving resources, and legislation that supports caregivers.

spinner image Woman hugging her elderly mother

FAMILY CAREGIVING

Family caregiving is a common experience. 

  • One-third (32%) of registered voters ages 18 and older say they were caregivers in the past, one-fifth (21%) are currently caregivers, and half (49%) expect to be a caregiver in the future. [Source: U.S. Voters’ Views on Support for Family Caregiving, fielded April 2023.]

  • Roughly one-fifth of U.S. adults 18 and older will experience caregiving at some point, with the large majority providing care for older adults. Most caregivers are women, and the average age of caregivers is 49.4, with one-quarter between 18 and 34. [Source: Caregiving in the U.S., 2020, national sample fielded May 28–June 17, 2019.]

Time and money are the top challenges for family caregivers. 

  • When caregivers were asked to identify the biggest challenge they face, their answer is overwhelming — time. [Source: U.S. Voters’ Views on Family Caregiving, fielded April 2023.]

  • Three-quarters of caregivers (78%) report regular out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving, with $7,242 the average amount spent [Source: 2021 Caregiving Out-of-Pocket Costs, fielded March 15–April 25, 2021.]

  • On average, family caregivers spend one-quarter (26%) of their income on caregiving activities, with household (52%) and medical (17%) costs making up the largest share of overall caregiver expenses. Only 5% of caregivers reported having no caregiving-related expenses in the past year. [Source: 2021 Caregiving Out-of-Pocket Costs, fielded March 15–April 25, 2021.][Source: 2021 Caregiving Out-of-Pocket Costs, fielded March 15–April 25, 2021.]

Work–life balance is often elusive for family caregivers.

  • Most (61%) caregivers are also holding down a job while serving as a caregiver, with the majority (60%) working 40 hours or more per week. Caregiving can affect caregiver’s work lives, with six in ten (61%) employed caregivers noting that they had experienced a change in their work situation, including more than half who reported going in late, leaving early, or needing to take time off. [Source: Caregiving in the U.S., 2020, national sample fielded May 28–June 17, 2019.]

  • Also common among caregivers are experiencing emotional stress (72%), having to miss an important meeting or event (67%), and needing to balance their work, family, and caregiving responsibilities (65%). [Source: U.S. Voters’ Views on Family Caregiving, fielded April 2023.]

FAMILY CAREGIVING LEGISLATION

Family caregivers want Congress to show them the money.

  • When asked what they would like Congress or their state government do, one third of family caregivers ages 18 and older say they would like increased access to health care (33%) and financial support (33%). When given a choice between financial support or support to do other things, most family caregivers would like to see Congress help them cover their expenses (58% vs. 31%). [Source: U.S. Voters’ Views on Family Caregiving, fielded April 2023.]

Midlife and older voters almost unanimously support choice for long-term care.

Voters also voice support for family caregivers, albeit with some variation across political parties.

  • Most (84%) U.S. registered voters ages 50 and older support for providing family caregivers with a tax credit to help offset the money they spend caring for loved ones, with 81% of Republicans, 89% of Democrats, and 82% of Independents strongly supporting the effort. [Source: National 50+ Voter Survey on Family Caregiving and Long-Term Services and Supports, fielded August 2–12, 2021.]

  • More than eight in ten (84%) registered voters ages 50-plus also support a tax credit of up to $5,000 for family caregivers, an amount to be based on how much caregivers spend in providing care, with Republicans (78%), Democrats (93%), and Independents (83%) voicing strong support. [Source: National 50+ Voter Survey on Family Caregiving and Long-Term Services and Supports, fielded August 2–12, 2021.]

  • Roughly seven in ten (68%) registered voters age 18 and older believe it is extremely or very important for Congress to expand services to enable older adults to live independently at home, and nearly six in ten (57%) believe it is similarly important for Congress to provide support to unpaid family caregivers. In both cases, nearly nine in ten Democrats and three-quarters of Republicans believe such support is important. [Source: U.S. Voters’ Views on Family Caregiving, fielded April 2023.]

  • Irrespective of political party, registered voters 18 and older say they would be more likely to vote for candidates who support nine legislative proposals — including those that would support family caregivers through paid leave or tax credits or those that would improve nursing homes and long-term care services. [Source: U.S. Voters’ Views on Family Caregiving, fielded April 2023.]

CAREGIVING CONCERNS

Caregiving anxiety is not limited to caregivers.

  • More than two-thirds (68%) of voters are concerned they won’t have enough money to afford the care they need (68%); 65% are concerned that they won’t be able to live independently; and roughly six in ten worry they will be a burden on their family (62%), will need to live in a nursing home with poor conditions (61%), or will not have a family member who is able to care for them (56%) as they age. [Source: U.S. Voters’ Views on Family Caregiving, fielded April 2023.]