NEW YORK, NY- Caregiving is still mostly a woman’s job and many women are putting their career and financial futures on hold as they juggle part-time caregiving and full-time job requirements. This is the reality reported in Caregiving in the U.S. 2009, the most comprehensive examination to date of caregiving in America. The sweeping study of the legions of people caring for adults, the elderly, and children with special needs reveals that 29% of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers, including 31% of all households.

In terms of race and ethnicity, caregivers are predominantly white ( 72%) with African Americans coming in second at 13%, Hispanics 12% and Asians only 2% of the population. These caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week.
The main reasons people need care are old age (12%), Alzheimer’s disease (10%), mental/emotional illness (7%), cancer (7%), heart disease (5%) and stroke (5%). However, the list of illnesses/problems for which children need care is quite different. It is led by ADD/ADHD, autism, mental/emotional illness and developmental delay/mental retardation. Caregivers of children provide the most time-intensive care. Increasingly, the study reports, there is a use of prescription medication for adult care recipients.

Caregivers are also receiving more help than they were five years ago, which is encouraging news, since one in six caregivers (17%) report that caregiving has had a negative impact on their health. Since 2004, there has been a sharp increase in the share of caregivers of adults who say they are getting help from other unpaid caregivers — up nine percentage points among those not caring for an adult in a nursing home. However, during the same time period, there has been a six percentage point decrease in those who report that their recipient uses paid help, a decrease that could potentially be linked to the recent recession. To read full story click here

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