Aging in America: The Growing and Changing Nature of Family Caregiving
Caregiving today affects everyone. Either you are a caregiver, know someone who is, or you expect to be one. Caregivers, who come from every age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, are typically individuals who provide unpaid care to a relative with a long-term physical condition who needs assistance with everyday activities of daily living. With the aging of the boomer population, many more family members and friends will be needed to provide care in America in coming years.
Health care and social service systems have not been adequately prepared for the demographic shift in older adults that will affect caregivers. Furthermore, today’s caregivers are often marginalized, left out of treatment decisions, and untrained for complicated tasks. Twenty-two percent of caregivers look after someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia, a number expected to grow with the aging baby boomer population, and 60% of them are women. Thirty-two percent are higher-hour caregivers or those who provide at least 21 hours each week of care to a loved one. In addition, a growing segment of the caregiving population are those age 75 or older who are typically caring for a close relative, are the sole provider of care, and usually live with the care recipient.
This past fall, policymakers participating in the Reforming States Group (RSG) meetings discussed what states can do to address these growing concerns. The session brought together nationally-recognized experts and state leaders to discuss the changing nature of family caregiving and efforts to provide supports for and enhance the capacity of unpaid family caregivers. Take a look at the presentations below: