New Data from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Reveals 6.1 Million Adult Caregivers Care for Someone Ages 18-49

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Special Report from Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 Reveals Caregivers of Adults Ages 18-49 Taking on More Responsibility and More Financial Strain

The needs facing adults with disabilities under fifty, and older adults who need care over fifty, both call for targeted, thoughtful solutions that can address care needs across the life course.

Two special reports emerging from the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP’s Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 shed light on the circumstances of two groups of caregivers, those caring for an adult aged 18-49 and those caring for an adult aged 50 or older. Findings from the reports reveal that 6.1 million adults are caregivers of adults ages 18-49. This group is caring for more people than in 2015 (24% report caring for multiple people vs. 14% in 2015) and one in three are experiencing high financial strain, with 34% rating financial strain as a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale (vs. 22% in 2015). The reports are each available here.

"We're proud to continue a partnership with AARP to help target the issues facing different populations of friends and family who care for another person," said C. Grace Whiting, President and CEO, National Alliance for Caregiving. "As America ages, more young adults are taking on care for people with disabilities and older friends and relatives. The needs facing adults with disabilities under fifty, and older adults who need care over fifty, both call for targeted, thoughtful solutions that can address care needs across the life course."

Caregivers of adults ages 18-49 tend to be younger compared to caregivers of adults aged 50 or older; some may just be starting out their careers and some are becoming caregivers in the middle of their career. More than half of these caregivers work while providing care, with 59% of caregivers 18-49 being employed in the past year while providing care. At the same time, nearly half (46%) are caring for someone with two or more conditions. These caregivers are feeling the financial strain of care responsibilities with 39% of caregivers of younger adults reporting a stop in saving and 38% taking on more debt as a result of providing care to their care recipient. Caregivers of adults ages 18-49 are also struggling to balance work with caregiving, with two-thirds reporting having experienced at least one impact or change to their employment situation as a result of caregiving (65%).

The special reports also found that:

  • Caregivers face health challenges of their own: only one in three caregivers of younger adults ages 18-49 consider their health to be excellent or very good (35%, down significantly from 51% in 2015);
  • Overall, caregivers of younger adults seem to be going at it alone: 52% report having no other help, regardless of it being paid or unpaid help;
  • Children are helping some caregivers of younger adults manage care; of those caregivers reporting someone else assisting in providing unpaid care, 23% say a child under the age of 18 helps to provide unpaid care to the younger adult care recipient, meaning 9% of all caregivers of adults ages 18-49 have at least one child helping to provide care.

Data from these special reports comes from Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP (http://www.aarp.org), conducted by Greenwald Research (http://www.greenwaldresearch.com) using a nationally-representative, probability-based online panel. 1,392 caregivers who were age 18 or older participated in the survey in 2019. First conducted in 1997, with follow up surveys in 2004, 2009 and 2015, the Caregiving in the U.S. studies are one of the most comprehensive resources describing the American caregiver. The 2020 study was funded by AARP, Best Buy Health Inc. d/b/a Great Call, EMD Serono Inc., Home Instead Senior Care, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, TechWerks, Transamerica Institute, and UnitedHealthcare.

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About the National Alliance for Caregiving
Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy. NAC conducts research, does policy analysis, develops national best-practice programs, and works to increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Recognizing that family caregivers provide significant societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well-being of those in their care, NAC supports a network of more than 80 state and local caregiving coalitions and serves as Secretariat for the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO). Learn more at http://www.caregiving.org.

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Patrice Heinz
@NA4Caregiving
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