Care Recipient a Profile

Care Recipient Profile

Who Receives Care?

  • Most care recipients are female (65 percent) and many recipients are widowed (42 percent).
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 care recipients are age 50 or older.
  • The average age of all care recipients over age 50 is 75 years old.
  • Caregivers who provide care for someone 50 or older tend to be helping their mothers (34 percent), grandmothers (11 percent), or fathers (10 percent). Sixty-five percent of these caregivers say other unpaid caregivers assist them in their role. Forty-six percent said they also employed paid help within the past year.
  • Of those caring for someone 50 or older, the most commonly cited primary problem or illness that the person they care for has is “aging” (15 percent of those surveyed, followed by diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • One quarter of caregivers for those 50 or older report the person they care for is suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other mental confusion, but only 8 percent say it is their main illness.
  • More than half of care recipients (55 percent) live in their own homes.
  • More than 9 out of 10 (92 percent) care recipients 50 or older take prescription medicine.

Amount and Type of Care Provided

The Caregiving in the U.S.researchers utilized the “Level of Burden Index” to measure the challenges caregivers face. The index combines the number of ADLs and IADLs that require help, as well as the amount of time devoted to caregiving. There are five levels of caregiver burden, with a level 5 rating signifying the highest degree of responsibilities. Level 5 caregivers have formidable, even onerous roles, and are likely to need significant emotional support and respite. Below are notable findings from the study about the various types of care provided:

  • Most caregivers (69 percent) say they care for one person, but about 30 percent care for two or more adults.
  • Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) provide eight hours or less of care per week.
  • One in five caregivers reported providing more than 40 hours of care a week.
  • The average duration of caregiving is 4.3 years.
  • About three in ten caregivers say they have been providing care for five or more years. Another three in ten say they have been providing care for one to four years.
  • Female caregivers are more likely to provide care at the highest level of burden (5), whereas men are more likely to provide care at the lowest level of burden (1).
  • Only 10 percent of caregivers provide care at the highest level of burden. Their intense caregiving is complicated by the fact they are usually older themselves and their health is only “fair” relative to that of other caregivers.
  • Thirty-seven percent of caregivers say no one else provided unpaid help to the person they care for within the past 12 months.
  • Caregivers tend to live near the people they care for. Among caregivers who do not live with the care recipient, 85 percent live within one hour’s travel.
  • About one in four caregivers (24 percent) say the person they care for lives with them.



The information above is reprinted from Working with Seniors: Health, Financial and Social Issues with permission from Society of Certified Senior Advisors® . Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.