New Report: Nation’s Growing Caregiving Needs Spotlight Need for Paid Leave

Today, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a new report which finds that our country’s caregiving needs will dramatically increase in the coming years, potentially leaving millions of Americans without access to much-needed caregiving infrastructure. The report explores the medical and demographic factors contributing to increased caregiving demands, and demonstrates that a lack of access to paid family and medical leave makes it impossible for aging individuals to receive adequate care.

“As our nation’s population grows older, investing in paid family and medical leave will be critical to ensuring that millions of Americans have access to a caregiver,” said Debra Ness, the president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity with the Build Back Better Plan to support families by enacting policies that allow hard-working Americans to care for their loved ones and still earn a paycheck.”

Over 80 percent of working adults do not have access to paid family and medical leave. A comprehensive, nationwide policy would provide an essential lifeline to caregivers, addressing the nation’s long-term care needs and preventing the loss of experienced workers who often have to leave their jobs to care for their loved one’s urgent health needs. Caregiving spans people’s lifetimes from parents bringing home their newborn to adults caring for an aging loved one. A paid family and medical leave policy would meet the needs of people at all points in their work lives.

Key findings:

  • 53 million Americans provide care to adult family members or disabled children and over 60 percent of these individuals work at jobs unrelated to their care responsibilities.
  • More than half of caregivers perform complicated, life-saving tasks, including administering injections and providing wound care for adults ages 50 and older.
  • Between 2019 and 2040, the population of adults ages 65 and older is expected to balloon from 54 million people to nearly 81 million people. The majority of these adults will need assistance with at least some daily activities upon turning age 65.
  • For adults ages 80 and older, the number of potential family caregivers will fall from about seven in 2010 to four by 2030, and then to less than three by 2050.
  • Alzheimer’s disease among people ages 65 and older is projected to double from six million to nearly 13 million by 2050, increasing health care and long-term care costs from $355 billion a year in 2021 to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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