Challenged to Care: Informal Caregivers in a Changing Health System
This report is from a 1998 national survey of 1,002 informal caregivers. Each year 23 percent of Americans provide unpaid assistance to ill, disabled, or elderly persons. Most caregivers (71 percent) do not live with care recipients. Primary caregivers provide more care of all types. Nonprimary caregivers also provide substantial care and services. Caregivers perform complex medical tasks, including medication administration, and errors can result. Few receive assistance from paid professionals or aides because of quality or financial concerns. In many areas, support and instruction could lighten caregivers’ burdens and help to ensure high-quality care at home.