July 18, 2013

As population ages, more Americans becoming caregivers


Four in 10 U.S. adults are caring for a loved one with significant health issues.

More Americans, regardless of experience or specialized knowledge, are finding themselves thrust into the role of caregivers. In a recent Pew Research survey, 36% of  U.S. adults said they provided unpaid care to an adult relative or friend in the past year, up from 27% in 2010. Eight percent said they provided unpaid care to a child living with health challenges or disabilities, up from 5% in 2010. All told, 39% of U.S. adults are caregivers, up from 30% in 2010.

Caregiving encompasses everything from buying someone groceries and managing their finances to helping them with bathing, dressing and other tasks of daily life. But a 2012 survey by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the United Hospital Fund found that in recent years, the role of family caregivers “has dramatically expanded to include performing medical/nursing tasks of the kind and complexity once only provided in hospitals.”

In fact, nearly half (46%) of family caregivers reported performing such medical/nursing tasks, three-quarters of those said their tasks included giving injections, administering intravenous fluids or otherwise managing medications.

The Pew Research study found similar results, with 39% of caregivers saying they managed medications. Of that group, 18% said they used online or mobile tools, such as websites or apps, to manage medications, which translates to 7% of all caregivers. College graduates were the most likely group to use technology to track medications. Read more


Category: Daily Number

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.

1 Comment

  1. BIZMARCK444 years ago

    It is just amazing how many studies we do here in our country, study after study but where can we see the impact of these studies. I am so amazed how the generation before the baby boomers acted as if this is all new and could not see all of this coming. If you were living in the world since the late 40’s we knew that their was going to be a big population retiring as well as with in the advancements in medicine we knew people were living longer.

    Let’s stop all the studies and take action – spend the money used for all the future studies and lets start moving in making some changes. Stop the political games or our country as we have known it will sink. In many cases we know what needs to be done and now we need to find the people who don’t have their hands in the cookie jar or the lobbyist. Or those with the knowledge need to speak up! What good is an education if you do not put it to work to the best of your ability.