Since 2003 the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been tracking — via interviews with 12,500 individuals — how Americans spend their days. The result is called the “American Time Use Survey.” Up until 2011, the tasks involving elder care were not included in the survey – a fact that is surprising since the number of unpaid elder care providers has grown steadily during the last several years.
For the purpose of the report, an elder care provider is someone providing unpaid care to a person over the age of 65 who needs help due to a condition relating to the aging process. And elder care can involve anything from meal preparation, assistance with grooming, transportation, companionship, or simply being available to provide assistance when needed.
The American Time Use Survey provides some interesting statistics relating to the 39.8 million unpaid elder care providers in the United States. For example:
- Fifty-six percent of those caring for the elderly are women.
- Sixty-nine percent are caring for only one elderly person.
- Forty-two percent provide care for a parent.
- Twenty-three percent are also providing care for 1 or more children under the age of 18 (considered the Sandwich Generation)
The report does include a statistic that is puzzling. Only four percent of the caregivers interviewed were caring for a spouse or unmarried partner compared to the forty-two percent caring for a parent and the nineteen percent caring for a grandparent. What’s missing from this picture? Continue reading »