4.1.2 The Case for ACAP

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  • Second only to the spouse, adult-children are the primary caregivers for older loved ones and typically provide front-line care.
  • There are an estimated 20-million adult-child caregivers in the United States1 – people who provide primary long-term care and support for one or more parents and/or in-laws. Recognizing the significant impact of caring for an older adult – impact on individuals, families, communities, and our nation, affecting our workforce, healthcare, and economy – increasingly, family caregiving is being viewed as an important national public health concern.
  • The relationship between parent and child is different from any other relationship. Consequently, the dynamics in the adult-child/aging parent caregiving relationship are different from any other caregiving situation.
  • Given the complexity of the caregiving today, more and more, adult-children are expressing their desire and need for information, resources, support, and community.
  • While adult-child caregiving is not new, there are significant differences in today’s caregiving as compared with yesteryear. In yesteryear:
    • Women were primarily homemakers and caregivers for all members of their family. Today, women comprise almost 60% of the workforce,2 so caregiving for an aging parent is one of many issues the adult-child must balance.
    • Geographical and emotional distances within families, including the surge in blended families, often make for difficult caregiving situations.
    • Families are the backbone of today’s healthcare. Often, untrained family members must perform care that historically was offered by trained medical professionals.
    • Technology has changed delivery systems of information and our expectations for information and resources related to caregiving. The ratio of caregivers to seniors is shrinking.
    • The number of aging persons and greater longevity mean that adult-children may be caregivers longer than in the past and that they may be elders, themselves, during their caregiving years, also vulnerable to a variety of age-related issues as they also try to care for their aging parents.
  • A significant decline in the number of family members to care for older adults is anticipated in the near future. In 2021, there were, on average, 7 family members, aged 46-64, providing direct care for older loved ones. By 2050, the projection is that there will be only 3.1


  1. AARP Family Caregiving & National Alliance for Caregiving. Caregiving in the US: 2020 Report (May 2020). https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2020/05/full-report-caregiving-in-the-united-states.doi.10.26419-2Fppi.00103.001.pdf.
  2. Women’s Labor Force Participation (2019), Institute for Women’s Policy Research. https://statusofwomendata.org/earnings-and-the-gender-wage-gap/womens-labor-force-participation/