Support for Spousal Caregivers

What caregiver demographic does WSA represent?

  • WSA has almost 2,000* members who are caregivers or partners to their ill partner/spouse
  • 24% of WSA members are men and 76% are women
  • 75% of our membership is age 65 or under
  • The 20-45 age range is the fastest growing membership in WSA
  • Percentages: 20-35 - 3%; 36-45 - 12%; 46-55 - 26%; 56-65 - 34%; 66+ - 25%

   *Includes paid, supporting members and non-supporting, one-year members on the WSA Online Forum, as well as about 2.5% who do not have emails or computer access.

Where do the members of WSA reside?

  • All fifty of the United States are represented in WSA membership
  • We have members from next door (Canada in particular) and around the globe (as far away as Japan, Italy and Australia) participating in our programs via local area WSA support groups or on the Internet.
  • Anyone from anywhere is welcomed

What are the diseases, illnesses, and disabilities represented by the spouses or partners of WSA members? (in order of prevalence)

  • MS
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Alzheimer's, Dementia and related memory loss illnesses
  • Autoimmune deficiencies and disorders
  • Brain injuries, disorders and/or diseases
  • Cancer (all types)
  • Crohn's Disease, Colitis and IBS
  • Chronic Pain Disorders
  • Diabetes and othe endorcrine dysfunctions
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma
  • Mental Illness, Depression, Anxiety and related disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Spinal Cord Injuries and/or paralysis
  • Spasticity issues and Movement Disorders
  • Stroke or Heart disease and disorders
  • Vision problems (including blindness)
  • And other less prevalent diseases and illnesses

AARP Policy Institute Report: Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update: The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving

Main findings:  In 2009, about 42.1 million family caregivers in the U.S. provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time, and about 61.6 million provided care at some time during the year. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $450 billion in 2009, up from an estimated $375 billion in 2007.

Ages of spousal caregivers in the U.S.: The most recent source of family caregiving statistics, the 2009 Caregiving in the U.S. study carried out by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) and funded by Met Life Insurance Co. shows that of all family caregivers  (65.7 million) those caring for a spouse or partner the age-range distribution of the spousal caregiver is:

18-49 - 1% ;  50-64 -  4% ;  65+ - 24% .   A total of 5%, or nearly 3.5 million of all family caregivers are spousal caregivers.

Full report, from the National Alliance for Caregiving: Caregiving in the U.S. -- 2009  Click here

General Page for NAC statistics on caregiving:  Click here

Look on the left sidebar for specific surveys, including:

  • Caregivers of Veterans - Serving on the Homefront Study, released Nov. 10, 2010, found that 70% of military caregivers are spousal caregivers, and 96% of them are female.  Click here

Other reports:

Family Caregivers Face Major Financial Burdens, Increased Stress, and Work Struggles  --  2011 online study from

74 percent of caregivers have either had to change their job situation or are not working. These results, coupled with the findings that 42 percent are spending more than $5,000 a year on caring and over 60 percent are concerned about the impact that providing care is having on their savings, clearly demonstrate that the financial toll of caregiving is a major issue for the millions of Americans who care for their loved ones.

Caregiving also results in measurable emotional costs. The survey indicates that caring for a loved one is the number-one source of stress among respondents (69 percent), ahead of the downturn in the economy and other family medical problems. In terms of family relationships, more than a quarter said their relationships had been negatively impacted by providing care. However, 75 percent say their caregiver role is a source of pride because they're making a difference for their loved one.

 Caring.Com: Emotional and Financial Costs of Caregiving  2011 (InfoGraphic)  Click here.

More Statistics:

Spousal Caregiver Studies

Susan C. Reinhard iof the AARP Public Policy Institute, and Carol Levine and Sarah Samis of the United Hospital Fund prepared this 2014 report:

Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care to Their Spouses



updated 20140415

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Phone: (732) 577-8899
Phone: (732) 577-8899