Pay Family Caregivers

They’re already doing the work.

Peggy O'Mara
5 min readJun 1, 2024

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Photo by Moyo Studio

Unpaid family caregivers take care of young children, disabled children and adults as well as older relatives and friends. In the United States, at least 53 million people — one-sixth of the population — perform this crtical role of family caregiving.

While we often hear how burdened these family caregivers are, in fact, 62% of family caregivers take care of their family members because they want to — almost twice as many as do so because it is expected of them.

And, contrary to popular opinion, caregiving itself is associated with fewer symptoms of depression. Sae Hwang Han, an assistant professor at University of Texas at Austin found that:

While the act of caregiving is often characterized as a stressful experience detrimental to mental health, recent studies are challenging this view by reporting robust health and well-being benefits linked to family caregiving.

Photo by Denys Kuvaiev

The economic value of unpaid family caregiving

The unpaid work of family caregivers has significant economic value. According to a conservative estimate from OXFAM

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Peggy O'Mara

Peggy O’Mara is an award winning journalist. She was the Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years. Her focus is Family, Health, and Justice.