Today, more than 15 million Americans serve as family caregivers for older adults. For older adults with chronic conditions and disabilities family care or “home care” can be substantial in scope, intensity, and duration. The overwhelming majority of family caregivers find great satisfaction and purpose caring for loved ones. Family caregiversassume day-today responsibilities even though sometimes they may feel unprepared to provide care. Most have limited knowledge related to coordination of care, including management of medication, pain, mobility, and symptoms. Such challenges and responsibilities can leave family caregivers feeling tired, isolated, and stressed.
More than half of family caregivers provide eight hours of care or more every week, and 1 in 5 provides more than 40 hours per week. Four out of ten caregivers spend five or more years providing support, and 2 out of 10 have spent a decade or more of their lives caring for their family member. The family caregiver themselves may be living with one or more chronic illness. The physical and emotional health of family caregivers has the potential to influence the health, welfare and rehabilitation of persons with chronic illness.