Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update


Providing care for a family member, partner, or friend with a chronic, disabling, or serious health condition—known as “family caregiving”—is nearly universal today. It affects most people at some point in their lives. The need to support family caregivers will grow as our population ages, more people of all ages live with disabilities, and the complexity of care tasks increases. Without family-provided help, the economic cost to the U.S. health and longterm services and supports (LTSS) systems would skyrocket.

The contributions of this invisible workforce often go unnoticed. Part of the Valuing the Invaluable series on the economic value of family caregiving, this report recognizes the crucial services of those who provide unpaid care and support. It uses the most current data available to update national and individual state estimates of the economic value of family care. In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care to an adult with limitations in daily activities. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $470 billion in 2013, up from an estimated $450 billion in 2009.

This report also explains the key challenges facing family caregivers. Marta’s story (see page 2) illustrates the intricacy of family caregiving today. The report highlights the growing importance of family caregiving on the public policy agenda. It lists key policy developments for family caregivers since the last Valuing the Invaluable report was released in 2011. Finally, the report recommends ways to better recognize and explicitly support caregiving families through public policies, private sector initiatives, and research. 

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