Skip nav to main content.

Over 40 Million Americans Provide Unpaid Eldercare

Sixteen percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over or 40.4 million people…

  • December 11, 2019

Sixteen percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over or 40.4 million people provide unpaid eldercare, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

About one-fourth (26 percent) of eldercare providers engage in unpaid eldercare on a given day, spending an average of 3.4 hours providing this care.

These estimates are averages for the 2-year period of 2017-18.

Eldercare providers are defined as individuals who provide unpaid care to someone age 65 or older who needs help because of a condition related to aging.

This care can be provided to household or nonhousehold members, as well as persons living in retirement homes or assisted care facilities.

Eldercare can involve a range of care activities, such as assisting with grooming, preparing meals, and providing transportation. Eldercare also can involve providing companionship or being available to assist when help is needed, and thus it can be associated with nearly any activity.

If you’re one of these unpaid caregivers…

Perhaps it helps to know you’re not alone. So many Americans struggle with the burdens imposed by eldercare, such as the lack of long-term Medicare support for in-home nursing care assistance – even as more and more elders choose to “age at home”.

With so many of us living paycheck to paycheck in evermore stressful working conditions the stress and sheer logistics of eldercare can seem unbearable. Caregivers need more support than they get– from governments, communities, family members and others. Clearly the need for help greatly outpaces supply.

But until that changes, just know that millions are engaged in this struggle; you are not alone.

If you’re a senior approaching the age when you might need care…

Consider doing some estate planning today, to prepare for the care needs of the future. Remember that assisted living or even part-time in-home nursing care cost many thousands of dollars a month. Seniors can quickly go through their savings and other wealth (such as home equity), long before their need for care is at an end.

Often, Medicaid is the only answer. But with Medicaid there is a five-year “look back”; you simply can’t pass on your estate to heirs in order to qualify for Medicaid assistance you need today. Therefore, consider doing your estate planning now, well in advance of need.

AERO’s expert estate planner can help you with wills, trusts, and more. Learn more!