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Caregiver Burnout and Stress: 2023 Statistics and Trends

Written by Chloe Clark
 about the author
6 minute readLast updated June 29, 2023
Reviewed by Erin MartinezDr. Erin Martinez is an associate professor of gerontology and director of the Center on Aging at Kansas State University. Martinez works to promote health and well-being across the lifespan to promote optimal aging and pursues community-based interventions for improving the social determinants of health.

Around 53 million Americans provide some form of caregiving for a senior or disabled loved one, and this care is most often provided by unpaid family members. However, the physical and emotional stress of caring for a loved one can lead to a dangerous state known as caregiver burnout. Understanding the signs to look out for in yourself and what steps to take when you’re feeling burned out can benefit you and the loved one who relies on your care.

Key Takeaways

  1. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion. It can lead to depression, health issues, and more.
  2. Caregiver burnout is unfortunately common. Around 60% of caregivers have reported experiencing moderate to high emotional stress.
  3. While all caregivers are susceptible to burnout, some groups may be more affected. Women, family members, and those providing a substantial amount of care all were more likely to report feelings of stress.
  4. Finding healthy ways to cope with caregiver stress is essential for your health. Caregivers are more likely to turn to negative coping methods, which can make matters worse.

What is caregiver burnout?

Caregiver burnout refers to the state of physical, mental, or emotional fatigue that can accompany caregiving. Burnout can produce feelings of anxiety or depression, which can lead to more negative interactions with the person they are caring for. Caregiver burnout often occurs when a caregiver is pushed beyond their physical, emotional, and/or financial limits.

Symptoms of caregiver burnout

While caregiver burnout can look different for each person, common symptoms may include:
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or helplessness
  • Changes in weight, either loss or gain
  • Exhaustion, both mentally and physically
  • No longer enjoying activities or hobbies
  • Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
  • Sleep patterns being disrupted or changed [02]

Caregiver burnout statistics

Caregiver burnout is a common experience for many who care for loved ones. A 2020 survey conducted by AARP and the National Alliance on Caregiving found that over 60% of caregivers consider their situation moderately to highly stressful.[03]
TheCDC estimates that by 2030, 73 million people will be age 65 or older and many of those people will need some form of caregiving.[01] This responsibility often falls to adult children or other younger relatives. In the same 2020 survey cited above, half of the participants stated that they felt caregiving gave them a sense of purpose in life, but these positive emotions co-exist with the emotional stress and physical tolls that caregiving can take.[03] The effects of burnout over the long term can have serious repercussions.

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Additional reported causes of caregiver burnout

In addition to the emotional stress of seeing a loved one decline, family caregivers face several other challenges that add to their strain over an extended period of time.
  • One in five caregivers reports financial strain from caregiving, such as needing to reduce work hours and taking on more debt.
  • One in four reported difficulty prioritizing their own health, or that their own health worsened.
  • One in five stated that they felt lonely.
  • Over half stated that caregiving had at least some level of negative impact on their work.[03]

Who is more likely to experience caregiver burnout?

While any caregiver may become stressed, some may be more likely to report higher levels of emotional strain, including caregivers who:
  • Feel lonely
  • Have provided care for more than a year
  • Are in high-intensity caregiving situations, where their loved one needs more advanced physical care or supervision
  • Provide more than 21 hours of care per week
  • Live with the person they care for [03]

Caregiver burnout demographics

Caregiver burnout does affect some demographics more heavily, likely due to a variety of factors including financial strain and cultural norms. Groups reporting higher levels of stress include:
  • Female caregivers
  • Unmarried caregivers
  • Asian American caregivers [03]
Black caregivers and caregivers who self-identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community report greater financial impacts as a result of caregiving.[03] While the reasons for greater financial stress vary, they sometimes are a result of smaller support networks or less stable career positions. For example,  LGBTQ caregivers tend to be younger and are less likely to be married, meaning that they may have less support at home and may not be as established in their careers when they become caregivers.

Negative outcomes of caregiver burnout

The effects of unmanaged caregiver stress can contribute to negative health outcomes. These include hypertension, obesity, and anxiety disorders.[05]
Some caregivers may rely on harmful methods of coping with the pressure they’re under, including drug and alcohol use, tobacco use, and overeating. Caregivers may turn to these methods if they did not previously learn positive coping methods, or if they were unprepared for their loved one’s care needs.
A report published by Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2020 found that family caregivers cope with:
  • Alcohol (14%)
  • Medications (18%)
  • Food (50%) [05]

How can caregiver burnout be prevented or reduced?

While burnout is common, there are ways to prevent and reduce caregiver stress.

Prepare the home ahead of time when possible

It’s best to begin planning for a loved one’s future care early on. Ensuring that their home is set up to be safe and accessible is one of the best ways to help a parent age in place.

Discuss and plan for future care needs

Ask your parent about what kind of care they will want, and encourage them to write a living will and name someone as their durable power of attorney.
To get a better understanding of future costs and ways to pay for care, it can be helpful to have your parent talk to a financial advisor about how to best to plan for paying for care down the line.

Understand what you can reasonably do

Many caregivers will try to do it all in terms of helping a parent. However, this isn’t always feasible. For example, if a parent weighs considerably more than you, then daily transfers from a bed to a wheelchair or onto a toilet may not be doable or even safe. Instead, focus on what you can do — whether that is making meals, housekeeping, or being the emotional support that your parent needs.

Be willing to ask for and accept help

Caregiving can feel lonely or isolating, but it’s likely your extended friends and family would jump at the chance to help. Reach out and see what they may be willing and able to do. Sometimes, even something as seemingly small as having a friend come to take a walk with a parent or join them for a meal so you can have some time to yourself can be a huge relief.

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Keep tabs on your own health

It can be easy to neglect your own health care needs because you are busy. However, it is essential to stay healthy. Set personal health goals, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and having regular check-ups with your doctor.

Find support

Support can come in many forms. Consider joining an in-person or online support group for caregivers, reaching out to resources like your local Aging and Disability Resource Center, or contacting a therapist if you are beginning to feel the toll of caregiving stress.

Know that help is out there

Although many seniors and their caregivers are resistant initially, in-home care or senior living can often relieve the burden on the whole family. If financial concerns have prevented you from looking into home care or an assisted living facility, there may be ways to help your parent pay for this type of care, such as Medicaid or veterans benefits. Finally, one of our Senior Care Advisors can help you navigate potential next steps and help you find the right care for your loved one.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, November 22). Supporting Caregivers.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. (2019, January 13). Caregiver Burnout.

  3. The National Alliance for Caregiving. (2020, May). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020.

  4. Altman, Mara. (2021, October 22). The Costly, Painful, Lonely Burden of Care. The New York Times.

  5. Blue Cross Blue Shield. (2020, September 9). The Impact of Caregiving on Mental and Physical Health.

Meet the Author
Chloe Clark

Chloe Clark is a copywriter for OurParents. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, with a background in education and publishing. She has over a decade’s experience in writing for print publications and websites.

Edited byKristin Carroll
Reviewed byErin Martinez

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