Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

10 Family Caregiver Facts You Probably Did Not Know

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Nov 24, 2019

P42.Sullivan.NovBlog2November is National Family Caregiving Awareness Month, and there is plenty to learn and celebrate. A family caregiver, sometimes called an informal caregiver, is an unpaid relative of a dependent person, such as a parent, adult child or spouse. They can also be friends, neighbors, and other compassionate care providers of dependent people, young and old. Their immense social contributions first sparked the month-long awareness campaign in 1994, and every U.S. president since has embraced them.

In honor of family caregivers around the country, let us share 10 facts you should know this November, and throughout the year.


  1. There were nearly 44 million Americans who provided unpaid care to a dependent loved one over the past 12 months.


  1. Family caregivers account for a critical social safety net for millions of vulnerable people worth an estimated $470 billion in economic value every year.


  1. Even with access to hospitals and social welfare programs, families typically bear the brunt of providing everyday care to those in need.


  1. About 75 percent of all family caregivers are female, and they spend as much as 50 percent more time providing care than male caregivers.


  1. The average age of a family caregiver is 49 years old.


  1. The average duration of a family caregiver’s role is about 4 years, although a quarter of all caregivers provide dependent care for more than 5 years.


  1. On average, family caregivers spend about 24 hours per week providing care, and nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spends at least 41 hours providing dependent care.


  1. Forty-six percent of family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks.


  1. Ninety-six percent of caregivers help with daily living activities, such as personal hygiene, dressing and bathing, as well as so-called instrumental activities like administering medicines, grocery shopping and transportation. 


Surveys show unpaid caregivers suffer, on average, a 26 percent reduction in positive activities in their daily lives as a result of their caregiving responsibilities, and the effect is three times greater in their personal lives than in their professional lives.

Caring for a dependent loved one is an act of sacrifice and compassion. There are resources and options available for caregivers who need support. Do not wait to attend a seminar to learn more information on how we can help you at this time.

Tags: Estate Planning, non-family caregivers, family, Estate Planning Tip, caretaker, care costs

Non-Family Caregivers: The Number of Childless Seniors is Growing

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Wed, Apr 20, 2011

Sociologists and popular social critics alike have been discussing the erosion of the nuclear family for years.  Fewer people are having children, so what is to become of those seniors who are aging "outside the nuclear family"?

The baby-boomers are just starting to enter retirement, and they are far more likely than previous generations to have remained childless throughout life. Many never actually married and others have already lost their spouses. What will happen to these people if they become disabled, incapacitated, or develop a chronic illness?

Most in-home care for the elderly is performed by family members. Hospital stays are getting shorter, driven by cost-saving initiatives, making it even more likely that these seniors will need outside help at some point in their lives.

Without family, seniors can only turn to friends, paid caregivers, or government-sponsored social services. Of course, paid caregivers are expensive, and government-sponsored programs present their own challenges, especially in light of recent budget cuts.

Unfortunately, friends are not currently given the same status as family members by a legal system that has always made the assumption of a nuclear family. There is, however, an emerging movement - the establishment of "friendship law" - that is responding to that.  Friendship law would confer certain rights upon “designated friends” who play a significant caregiver role – including hospital visitation, tax breaks, and claims to an estate when no will has been established.

Visit our website for more information on Life Care Planning or to register for a free workshop to learn firsthand about long-term care and other planning options.  You may also be interested in one of our free reports on Planning with Independent Trustees.

Tags: long term care, in-home care, Baby Boomers, non-family caregivers, friendship law

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