Caregiving in 2016

A Snapshot of Family Caregivers of Seniors in the U.S. Today

Family caregivers of older adults in the United States are spending significant chunks of time and money on caregiving, and employed caregivers are feeling the impacts at work, our annual Caregiver Journey for 2016 shows.

More than 2,500 family caregivers of seniors responded to the survey conducted by Pretell Market Research from July 19 to Aug. 10, 2016. We asked respondents specific questions about how caregiving has affected their lives. What follows are some of the main findings from their responses.

Annual Spending on Caregiving

Q: Approximately how much money have you and other family members spent caring for this person over the last 12 months?


  • More than 4 in 10 family caregivers (42%) spend $5,000 or more annually on caregiving-related expenses
  • That number is down slightly from 2015, when 48% of survey respondents reported spending $5,000 or more on caregiving
  • Caregivers of loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia were more likely than those whose loved ones haven’t been diagnosed with either disease to spend $20,000 or more on caregiving-related expenses (18% vs. 11%)

Most Common Caregiving Expenses

Q: Which of these caregiving expenses do you or other family members pay for, either entirely or in part, on behalf of your loved one? Check all that apply.


  • Food and clothing and transportation were the caregiving-related costs most often covered by family caregivers (About 60% of respondents said they paid for these expenses)
  • Medications and other medical expenses were the next most common caregiving-related expense, with 44% of respondents reporting paying these costs
  • Other common expenses related to caregiving were travel to provide care for a loved one, in-home care for a loved one, legal services and caregiving services such as adult day care
  • Only 15% of respondents said that neither they nor their family members contributed financially for their loved one’s care

Perceived Impact of Caregiving on Job

Q: Overall, how much impact has caregiving had on your job?


  • A large majority (72%) of employed family caregivers say that caregiving has had at least some negative impact on their job
  • That number was even higher for caregivers of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia (78%)

Work-related Impacts of Caregiving

Q: How, if at all, has your role as a caregiver impacted your job? Please choose all that apply.


  • A whopping 92% of employed caregivers say they’ve experienced caregiving-related impacts related to their work situation
  • About two-thirds (66%) of these caregivers report having experienced caregiving-related disruptions on the job, including phone calls, emails or emotional distractions
  • 60% reported having to make changes to their work schedule to accommodate caregiving
  • More than half (55 percent) said they’d missed one ore more weeks of work due to caregiving
  • 15% said they may need to leave their job because of their caregiving duties

Loved One's Living Situation

Q: What best describes your living situation?

Living Situation Percentage of Respondents
Spouses living together 33%
The person needing care moved in with caregiver 15%
Caregiver moved in with loved one needing care 7%
Not spouses, but living together before person began to need assistance 4%
Loved one resides in senior living community 22%
Loved one still lives in their own home 17%
Loved one moved in with another relative or friend who provides care 1%


Read More About Caregiving in 2016: New Survey Shows Family Caregivers Feeling the Impacts to Their Wallets, Jobs