Since 2003, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has asked Americans to detail how their time was spent during the last 24 hours. Derived from a sample of 12,500 respondents, the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) details the average number of minutes spent daily in traffic, on the phone, shopping, cooking, etc. Only last year was a question concerning elder care added to a surprising result.
In the 2011 ATUS Report, 39.8 million people over the age of 15, approximately 16% of respondents, reported they provided unpaid care to someone over 65 because of a condition related to aging. Of those identified as elder care providers, over 45% of respondents were between the ages of 45 and 64 , and 16% of those over 65.
To classify as a caregiver under the survey, a respondent would only have to have provided unpaid care of any kind more than once in the past three months, regardless of the time. While that includes many activities one would not necessarily associate with being a caregiver, the breakdown of activities demonstrates common areas of assistance those over 65 require.
As increasing numbers of Americans pass 65, the number of elder care providers will rapidly increase, as well as the amount of time each provider spends caring for someone else.
Above graphic sourced from The New York Times.
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