ACL has released a data profile using data from the Caregiver Outcome Evaluation Study of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). This data profile, “Users of National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) Services,” compares characteristics of caregivers that are NFCSP service users and area agencies on aging (AAA) clients, with caregivers who are AAA clients only, in addition to caregivers who are neither. This data profile examines characteristics of caregivers including age, relationship to care recipient, and level of caregiving intensity.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) conducted an outcome evaluation of the Older Americans Act Title III-E National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP).The NFCSP provides grants to states and territories to fund various supports that help family and informal caregivers care for older adults in their homes for as long as possible. The Caregiver Outcome Evaluation Study of the NFCSP was released in 2018.
Stop for a minute and think about what it means to be a family caregiver. What comes to mind? Is it calling to check on a friend or loved one several times a week? Driving mom or dad to doctors’ appointments? Negotiating with a school about the individual education plan for a child with a disability? Helping with personal and household tasks? Helping to coordinate care and service delivery from across the country? If you’re like most, family caregiving is probably a mix of one or more of these or similar tasks, plus a host of other responsibilities you must balance. While the experience of supporting loved ones who need assistance is unique to each of us, perhaps the one common element is the time such a commitment entails.
According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers of adults spend approximately four years providing care, with nearly one-quarter doing so for five years or longer. On average, family caregivers provide 24.4 hours of care per week. Data collected by ACL in 2016 shows that caregivers served by the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) had been providing care for 5-10 years (29.9 percent) while 12 percent had been doing so for 11-20 years. These caregivers spend considerable portions of their day providing care, with fifty percent indicating that their loved ones needed 13-24 hours of help, daily. When asked about the biggest difficulty they faced as family caregivers, 21 percent said they did not have enough time for themselves or their families.