When It Comes to Family Caregiving, Women Bear the Burden in New York: AARP NY Report

By AARP NY | January 17, 2024

NY Women Twice as Likely as Men to Be Caring for Older Loved Ones; Governor, Legislature Must Boost Aging Services Funding This Year

ALBANY, N.Y. – Women in New York State are nearly twice as likely than men to be caregivers for a loved one, according to a new report by AARP New York that also finds women in New York age 40 and older who are currently providing care are likely to be 58 years old and caring for their 80-year-old mother, helping with a wide range of daily living assistance from shopping to nursing tasks.

The report – “Women Caregivers Ages 40 and Older in New York: Their Challenges, Struggles, and Needs” – is based on a fall 2023 survey commissioned by AARP New York and released today at the State Capitol, where the aging advocacy group was joined by State Senate Aging Committee Chair Senator Cordell Cleare in calling on Governor Hochul and the Legislature to provide more support for unpaid family caregivers in final state budget.

“An estimated 2.2 million New Yorkers are unpaid family caregivers. It is unfortunate Governor Hochul chose not to address this situation yesterday when she released her plan for the next state budget, because this latest AARP statewide report reinforces what we’ve known for a long time: New York women, especially those 40 or older, shoulder most of the responsibilities when it comes to providing care for their aging loved ones,” said Kristen McManus, Associate State Director for Advocacy for AARP New York. “The survey of women caregivers gives a clear indication how women across the state are playing a vital role in making sure their aging and often ailing family members are properly cared for every day.”

The survey of 1,345 New York registered voters ages 40 and older sought to learn more about New York caregivers and services that support them in providing care to loved ones. The report focusing on the responses from women caregivers gleaned insights from women who say they are currently providing care or had previously done so.

Women ages 40 and older who are currently providing care to a loved one typically are 58 years old and caring for their 80-year-old mother, according to the report. In addition, it  also finds current New York women caregivers are likely to be married (62%) and employed (58%), while a majority (58%) say they always vote in state elections.

Among the report’s other key findings:

  • 66% of women say they are caregivers, compared to 34% of men
  • Over 45% of the women have a household income of less than $75,000
  • 65% of current or former women caregivers say they worked while providing care
  • 92% say they have incurred expenses while providing care
  • 64% of women caregivers do not believe New York state government offers enough support for unpaid family caregivers

When it comes to helping loved ones with essential daily living assistance, current and former women caregivers say the activities they engage in most include social activities and companionship (94%), shopping (93%), household chores (89%), preparing meals (88%), and medical and nursing tasks (71%).

“As Chair of the Aging Committee and a family caregiver to both my parents in their later years, this report confirms so much of what we intuitively know: that caregiving is often a familial act of love and dedication that has disparate impacts on women,” Senator Cleare said. “It is high time for the State to step up and support our millions of familial caregivers in a way that enhances services, support and collective quality of life.”

“I just lived out this harrowing experience caretaking my father,” Assemblymember Kim said. “Instead of focusing on the care my father required during his final days, I was stonewalled and abandoned by the dehumanization in our system. As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging, I will work tirelessly to put the care back into our care economy. Our family caregivers are under-appreciated and under-valued and demand that this state see them for their worth. I look forward to working with my partners at AARP to realize the potential of this report.”

Among the recommendations AARP New York is advocating:

Eliminate Waiting Lists – Providing $42 million will eliminate the waiting list too many older New Yorkers find themselves languishing on as they and their family caregivers await basic services such as transportation, housekeeping, and personal care.

Increased Transparency — Require the State Office for the Aging to develop and post detailed reporting of where the waiting list exists by county and service requested, and provide this information to the Governor and Legislature annually as well as an accounting of the prior year’s expenditure, by county and service, on addressing the waiting list.

Direct Financial Assistance – Create a program to provide direct financial support to unpaid family caregivers who on average spend over $8,000 a year to care for their loved one.

“Governor Hochul and lawmakers must provide the funding for the programs that can alleviate some of the burden so many New Yorkers – most of them women — are bearing as they care for their aging loved ones,” McManus added. “Senator Cleare and Assemblymember Kim are fierce advocates for older New Yorkers, and we’re honored to team up with them once again. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to ensure an enacted state budget provides the funding for the proper care and services our aging loved ones deserve.”

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About AARP 

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/about-aarp/www.aarp.org/españo or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspañol and @AARPadvocates on social media.