US Prevalence and Predictors of Informal Caregiving for Dementia

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 34, no. 10, Oct. 2015, p. 1637-1641

by Esther M. Friedman, Regina A. Shih, Kenneth M. Langa, Michael D. Hurd

Read More

Access further information on this document at Health Affairs

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Research Questions

  1. How much informal care is provided to older adults with and without dementia?
  2. Who provides this care?
  3. Who receives intensive informal care?

In 2010, 5.5 million US adults ages seventy and older received informal care, including 3.6 million with cognitive impairment or probable dementia. Adults with probable dementia received 171 hours of monthly informal care, versus 89 hours for cognitively impaired adults without dementia and 66 hours for cognitively normal adults.

Key Findings

  • Informal caregivers provide 83 percent of the hours of care received by all older adults. Those with probable dementia received 171 hours of informal care per month versus 89 for the cognitively impaired and 66 hours for normal adults.
  • Spouses are the primary caregivers for adults with normal cognition, but daughters are more likely to provide informal care for adults with cognitive impairment or dementia.
  • Married people with probable dementia are more likely to receive intensive informal care than their unmarried counterparts.
  • White adults are significantly less likely to receive intensive informal care than their black and Hispanic counterparts.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.