Those Providing Care for Seniors Now Number 1 in 5

The number of people currently providing care to seniors is nearly 40 million, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor. That number amounts to nearly one in five of all working Americans taking on some form of elder care responsibility.  

With a domain of 39.8 million people—nearly nine times the size of the 2010 U.S. teacher population—senior care providers comprised 16% of the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population aged 15 and older in 2011. A survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics marks the first time statistics about senior care providers were collected by the labor department and included in the American Time Use Survey (ATUS).

Eldercare workers are unpaid individuals who provide care for someone over the age of 65 whose aged-related conditions require assistance, the survey specifies. 

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The survey found that on days when care was provided, providers spent an average of 3.1 hours providing care with the majority of care involving household and leisure activities.

Of the nearly 40 million people who provide senior care, women account for more than half, at 56%. The 45-64 age bracket makes up nearly half of that 40 million, at 45%. More than four in ten eldercare providers are caring for a parent, and 68% care for only one person.

The study also found that 15% of providers are unemployed, and 36% have provided care for five or more years.

View the complete survey

Written by Erin Hegarty

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