Many of us fondly remember the pictures by Norman Rockwell that seem to define an ideal of family life in America. Think of that Thanksgiving scene with the turkey being carved. Young and old together in health and harmony. This is an idealized image to which many of us aspired. How many inter-generational families care for their elders and who are they? Let us look at some demographics:
• Approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months.
• About 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months.
• The majority of caregivers (82%) care for one other adult, while 15% care for 2 adults and 3% for 3 or more adults.
• Approximately 39.8 million caregivers provide care to adults (aged 18+) with a disability or illness or 16.6% of Americans.
• About 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
• The value of services provided by informal caregivers has steadily increased over the last decade, with an estimated economic value of $470 billion in 2013, up from $450 billion in 2009 and $375 billion in 2007.
• 65% of care recipients are female, with an average age of 69.4. The younger the care recipient, the more likely the recipient is to be male. 45% of recipients aged 18-45 are male, while 33% of recipients aged 50 or higher are male.
• Males may be sharing in care giving tasks more than in the past, but females still shoulder the major burden of care.
• On average, caregivers spend:
13 days each month on tasks such as shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and giving medications;
6 days per month on feeding, dressing, grooming, walking, bathing, and assistance toileting;
13 hours per month researching care services or information or disease, coordinating physician visits or managing financial matters.
• Of family caregivers who provide complex chronic care:
46% perform medical and nursing tasks;
More than 96% provide help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as personal hygiene, dressing and undressing, getting in and out of bed, or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) such as taking prescribed medications, shopping for groceries, transportation, or using technology, or both.
• Distribution of caregiver age:
Average age, 49.2 years old
48% of caregivers are 18-49 years old
34% of caregivers are 65+ years old
• Distribution of care recipient age:
14% of care recipients are 18-49 years old
47% of care recipients are 75+ years old
• Individual adult caregivers in the US identify their race/ethnicity as the following:
African American: 13%
Hispanic (non-White, non-African American): 17%
Asian American: 6%
• Hispanic (non-White, non-African American) caregivers have the highest reported prevalence of care-giving at 21%. Caregiver prevalence among other racial/ethnic groups are as follows:
African American: 20.3%
Asian American: 19.7%
• White caregivers are on average older (52.5 years old) than their counterparts among other races/ethnicities. The average age of caregivers among other racial/ethnic groups are as follows:
Asian American: 46.6 years old
African American: 44.2 years old
Hispanic (non-White, non-African American): 42.7 years old
• Hispanic (non-White, non-African American) and African American caregivers experience higher burdens from care giving and spend more time care giving on average than their White or Asian-American peers. The percentage of high burden caregivers care giving time by racial/ethnic groups are as follows:
African American: 57%, 30 hours per week
Hispanic (non-White, non-African American): 45%, 30 hours per week
White: 33%, 20 hours per week.
Asian American: 30%, 16 hours per
• More than half of African American caregivers find themselves “sandwiched” between caring for an older person and a younger person under age 18, or caring for more than one older person. African American caregivers are also more likely to reside with the care recipient and spend an average of 20.6 hours per week providing care. In addition, 66 percent of African American caregivers are employed full or part-time.
• The needs of care recipients vary by race/ethnicity. African-American caregivers (41%) are more likely to provide help with more than three ADLs than white caregivers (28%) or Asian Americans (23%). Hispanic (non-White, non-African American): 17%.
By examining the above statistics we see that home care of the elderly is disproportionately found in African American and Hispanic American communities. The reasons are complex and we can write on this further. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all and I hope you have the special days you wish for.
For the Diversity Committee
Feel free to comment on this article at our Diversity Blog, https://aauwhhl.wordpress.com.
AAUW Diversity Policy: In principle and practice, AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of sex, gender, identity, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class. Membership is not by invitation
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