The results of a recent study are shedding more light on how the aging population is changing the face of America. The new study from the Pew Research Center and the California Healthcare Foundation found that nearly 4 out of every 10 adult Americans now devote at least some time to caring for elderly family members.
The study looked at how Americans lived from 2000 up to today. In 2010, about 30% of Americans devoted their time to caring for an elderly family member, while by 2012 that number reached 39%.
The researchers say that much of the shift can be attributed to advances in medical technology. Medical advances are saving more people’s lives, even while stays in hospitals become more rare and last shorter amounts of time. Once a person is successfully treated in a hospital, he or she will typically have to return home. In many of the situations, it falls to a family member to provide such at-home care.
Most of the people providing elder care were between the ages of 30 and 64 years old. Nearly half, about 46%, were parents with minor children, while 36% were not parents.
Household income also appears to play a role in the likelihood of being a caregiver. About 46% of those with an income between $50,000 and $75,000 per year reported that they provide some kind of elder care services. Those earning between $30,000 and $50,000 reported they provide such care 38% of the time, while 36% of those households earning less than $30,000 provided unpaid elder care services.