Disability and aging are women's issues, not only because women are more likely to become disabled as they grow older, but because women provide most of the informal (unpaid) caregiving for people with disabilities.
In 1996, 15% of adults were estimated to be providing care to family members who were seriously ill or had a disability. From 1987 to 1996, the number of households that provide informal care to adults over 50 more than tripled, from 7 million to 22.4 million (National Alliance for Caregiving, 1997). Women have consistently been the primary caregivers. In surveys conducted in 1982 and 1996, approximately three-quarters of these informal caregivers were women (Hoffman & Rice, 1996; House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging, 1988; National Alliance for Caregiving, 1997).
Data Table for Figure 32
Source: National Alliance for Caregiving (1997)
Surveys: National Alliance for Caregiving Survey, 1996