As adults age, they may need support from their relatives, friends, partners, or neighbors to compensate for changes in physical, mental, or cognitive function. Research shows that the vast majority of patients prefer to live and receive continuing care in their own homes. Caregivers enable older adults to remain in their communities.
Caregiving can involve assisting a person with a wide range of tasks and supports, such as providing assistance with household tasks, helping maintain social connections, providing health and medical care, providing transportation, and coordinating the medical care of a loved one. These tasks have a wide range of complexity and often become more demanding as a loved one ages. While these types of care can assure a loved one receives quality care, they can negatively impact the well-being of the caregiver. Providing continued care can create financial hardships, work difficulties, increase stress levels, and make other social relationships more challenging.
The aging of the population in the United States, the increasing number of older adults living with multiple chronic diseases and disabilities, and an underfunded system of social support have placed the burden of caregiving on family members. According to the Caregiver Action Network, 29 percent of Americans care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend during any given year.
The Alliance is dedicated to supporting caregivers through its advocacy activities. It has launched the first-ever Senior Patient and Family Caregiver Network (SP&FCN) to address the significant underrepresentation of older adults and their family caregivers in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER).
If you would like to know more about policy and legislation on caregiving, we also encourage you to visit the website of the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC). The NAC website includes many resources and toolkits for caregivers.