Family and Caregiver Supports, Resiliency, and Well-Being

Family and Caregiver Supports, Resiliency, and Well-Being

Families and caregivers are critical influences on the development and health of the people they engage with and support across the life course. Effectively supporting families and caregivers is critical to promoting participation of the people they support. Research is needed to better understand effective methods of supporting family and caregiver capacity, resiliency, and well-being. Evolving frameworks for understanding, supporting, and empowering families and caregivers should recognize the reciprocal nature inherent in many caregiving relationships.  

  • Over 21% of U.S. adults (over 53 million) have served as a caregiver for an adult or child with a disability or chronic health condition.  Most care recipients are adults.1 

  • Caregivers promote participation in home and community settings.1 

  • The number of caregivers caring for more than one person are increasing and 45% of caregivers report a financial impact.1 

  • Approximately 8 out of 10 caregivers report they could use more information or help on special topics, including stress management, safety in the home, toileting, and handling problem behaviors. 1 

  • Additional research on caregiving is needed to define its breadth and scope, estimate the economic impact, identify high risk factors, and develop effective interventions. 2 

Need and Relevance to Occupational Therapy 

Family and caregiver supports, resiliency, and well-being have been identified as 

  • a critical area to promote health and well-being for families and individuals across conditions and populations 

  • an area in which evidence-based measures and interventions are needed 

  • an area where application of the unique expertise of occupational therapy would be highly beneficial 

Caregiving entails supporting the participation, health, and well-being of another person. Caregivers must also attend to their own needs for participation and maintain their physical and emotional health.   

Occupational therapy knowledge regarding factors that influence engagement in daily activities, particularly environmental and task factors, may support development of effective caregiver interventions to meet the needs of the people they support. 

Current knowledge, research training, measures and interventions are inadequate for addressing the needs of care recipients and caregivers. AOTF is committed to the development of a scientific network and body of evidence to achieve effective and efficient advances to address family and caregiver needs across the lifespan. 

The number of occupational therapy scientists who are building knowledge related to family and caregiver needs is growing.  However, there is not a coordinated network for occupational therapy research in this area, nor sufficient resources to train more occupational therapy researchers.  We believe a significant investment is needed to address family and caregiver needs across the lifespan in order to achieve better outcomes and improve quality of life. 

1. National Alliance for Caregiving. (2020). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020  Retrieved from https://www.caregiving.org/caregiving-in-the-us-2020/ 

2. National Institute on Aging. (2012). Next steps for research on informal caregiving. Retrieved from  https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/dbsr/bsr-sponsored-publications 


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