Why the Daughter Is Usually the #1 Caregiver for Her Parents

  • An estimated 66% of caregivers are female.
  • The value of unpaid care that women provide ranges from $148 billion to $188 billion annually.
  • The average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who works outside the home and provides 20 hours per week of unpaid care to her mother.
  • Although men also provide assistance, female caregivers may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers.

Women and Caregiving: Heightened Challenges for the Female Caregiver

Financial Consequences:

  • Women who are family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty.
  • Estimates indicate that some 20 percent of all female workers in the United States are family caregivers. These caregivers cope, to the best of their abilities, with competing demands from caregiving, work and other roles. Often, they have to decrease work hours, give up promotions or take leave which can have big economic repercussions.
  • For example, the cost impact of caregiving on the individual female caregiver in terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equals $324,044 (a $40,000 higher figure than that for male caregivers).

Health Consequences:

  • Women who cared for ill parents were twice as likely to suffer from depressive or anxious symptoms as non-caregivers.
  • Over one in four (26%) female caregivers reported fair to poor health compared to 12% of women generally.
  • A female caregiver is less likely to participate in preventative healthcare. For example, 21% of female carers had mammograms less often. And, a female caregiver is more than twice as likely not to fill a prescription due to cost.

Family Dynamics, Assumptions and (Changing?) Roles

Is There a Better Way?

  • Family members’ situations: work, family, health status
  • Geographic locations
  • Strengths and qualities
  • Working together as a team and how to fairly divide tasks
  • How to communicate and check-in/evaluate how things are going
  • Different options and support (home care, support services, care facilities, respite programs)
  • Your parent’s preferences and everyone’s input

Support for the Caregiver

Navigating these issues in your family?



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