More than 44 million U.S. adults help care for other adults.[@@]

Researchers at the National Alliance for Caregiving, Bethesda, Md., and AARP, Washington, have published that figure in a study of U.S. caregiving that was funded by the MetLife Foundation, New York.

The researchers surveyed 6,139 U.S. residents who were at least 18 and found that 1,247 provided at least 1 of 13 caregiving tasks for other adults.

Although the typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who is helping her mother, 39% of U.S. caregivers are men, 17% are caring for friends or other non-relatives, and 21% of the care recipients are between the ages of 18 and 50, the researchers report.

The caregivers surveyed spend an average of more than 20 hours per week on caregiving, and 62% say they have had to take time off from work or leave their jobs entirely to cope with their caregiving responsibilities.

The time U.S. caregivers spend on caregiving each year may have a total value of about $257 billion, the researchers estimate.