Caregivers provide assistance to people who need some degree of ongoing assistance with everyday tasks in a residential or institutional setting. The recipients can be children, older adults, or those with chronic illnesses or disabling conditions.

According to 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) state-based Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, approximately one in four U.S. adults 18 years of age and older reported providing care or assistance to a person with a long-term illness or disability in the past 30 days.

This type of care is provided by family or friends rather than paid caregivers. It is informal or unpaid, because it is not provided through official channels.

The value of unpaid caregiving activities in the United States was estimated to be $450 billion in 2009.

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