Nearly 90 percent of the disabled old people who were not in nursing homes received assistance from relatives and friends, sometimes supplemented by paid services. The majority of unpaid caregivers are women relatives of the disabled, usually wives, daughters, or daughters in-law.
Families devote enormous time and energy to the care of elderly relatives, often at considerable emotional and physical cost. One study estimates that more than 27 million unpaid days of informal care are provided each week. Other studies suggest the large emotional and physical strain on families caring for elderly relatives.