National Poll on Healthy Aging: More Than Half of All Older Adults Have Been Caregivers

Nov 9, 2022

More than half of adults age 50–80 (54%) said they have helped an adult age 65 or older with health, personal, or other care tasks in the past two years, according to a study from the National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by the University of Michigan.

The most common care tasks included helping with health care encounters (e.g., making or attending appointments, communicating with providers) (33%), home maintenance or improvement (e.g., cleaning or yard work) (32%), meals (including shopping or meal preparation) (31%), and finances (e.g., paying bills or banking) (22%).

Those who were married or partnered were more likely to provide care than those who were not (57% vs. 50%), as were those with a college degree compared to those without (61% vs. 50%).

Among those who helped an older adult, direct communication with health care providers happened most often in-person (68%), followed by phone (39%), online patient portal (12%), email or mail (12%), and virtual visit (9%).

Nearly all helpers (94%) said they were not paid for the help provided, while 6% reported being paid.

Positive aspects of helping older adults

This National Poll on Healthy Aging report presents findings from a nationally representative household survey conducted exclusively by NORC at the University of Chicago for the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. National Poll on Healthy Aging surveys are conducted using NORC’s AmeriSpeak probability-based panel.

More information on this topic is available here.