In 2010, 5.5 million US adults ages seventy and older received informal care, including 3.6 million with cognitive impairment or probable dementia. Adults with probable dementia received 171 hours of monthly informal care, versus 89 hours for cognitively impaired adults without dementia and 66 hours for cognitively normal adults
Dementia, defined as a cognitive decline severe enough to require help with daily activities, costs an estimated $159–$215 billion per year in the United States.1 As much as 84 percent of this amount is attributable to long-term services and supports, many of which are provided by relatives and friends of the person with dementia. However, the reliance on informal care from family members may be unsustainable as the population ages; family sizes shrink; and women, who traditionally bear most of the burden of informal caregiving, increasingly participate in the workforce. To assess whether demographic changes will affect informal caregiving for dementia, policy makers need reliable estimates of the number of informal caregivers and care recipients and of the intensity of care provided. Yet to our knowledge, only three studies have examined these numbers.
– Health Affairs