• Mary Sizemore

Spotlight: Informal Caregivers

What is an Informal Caregiver?

An informal caregiver is a person who provides unpaid ongoing assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) to a person with a chronic illness or disability.

Who is an Informal Caregiver?

Most informal caregivers are loved ones. In fact, 53 million Americans are providing unpaid care to a family member or friend. Over half of informal caregivers are female (61%) and their average age is 50 years old.

What Type of Informal Care is Provided?

Informal caregivers (or family caregivers) provide an average of 23.7 hours per week in unpaid care.


99% of family caregivers help with IADLs. IADLs include tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, transportation, managing medication, and handling finances.


60% of family caregivers aid with at least one ADL. ADLs are defined as eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, continence, and toileting. The most common type of ADL support caregivers provide is with transferring and mobility. Helping with incontinence and toilet hygiene issues tends to be one of the most challenging tasks for caregivers, both mentally and physically.


Many family caregivers also provide help with skilled nursing duties. More than half of caregivers report helping their care recipients with more complex nursing tasks such as administering medications and injections, wound care, tube feeding, catheter and colostomy care, and monitoring vital signs. Most have not received formal training to perform these responsibilities.


Informal caregivers take on an enormous burden. While caregiving can be rewarding, many caregivers are thrust into the role unexpectedly without proper training or preparation.

Where Does Long-Term Care Insurance Fit in?

Long-term care insurance is often referred to as “nursing home avoidance” insurance. Over 60% of long-term care insurance claims are paid at home for care related to ADLs and skilled nursing duties. Long-term care insurance does not necessarily replace the family caregiver. Instead, it provides the family member with additional support in caring for their loved one. Long-term care insurance can offer that bridge to caregivers while protecting the care recipient’s assets at the same time. Raising awareness with your clients on the caregiving duties their family members would be responsible for can give them another reason to consider this important coverage.


For more information on the policies available in your state, please contact a member of our team at 1-800-945-1953


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