National Family Caregivers Month: Caring for Younger Adults and Older Adults

November 13, 2015

Blog Series #2: Caring for younger adults and older adults

Caregiving_smileThis month we are focusing on caregivers. While caregivers share many similar experiences, there is great diversity among them as well. In conjunction with the “Caregiving in the U.S. 2015” report released by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, two companion reports about caring for different age groups have also been published.

Caregivers of Younger Adults

Caregivers of Younger Adults: A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 18 to 49” estimates that over 5 million adults in the U.S. provided unpaid care to family member or friend between the ages of 18 to 40 in the past year. The report explains that 61% of younger adult caregivers are female; they are on average 42.8 years old, and are taking care of someone 36.4 years old. The person they are carrying for is most likely their own adult child who is suffering from a short-term condition.

Caregiving for younger adults can affect health and employment. More caregivers (17%) report their health as fair or poor compared to the general population. One in four caregivers feel their responsibilities have made their health worse. Caregivers of young adults are more likely to report financial strain than those of older adults. Most caregivers (65%) report working at some point while caregiving, with half working full-time.

Caregivers of Older Adults

Caregivers of Older Adults: A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 50+” estimates that 34.2 million American adults have provided unpaid care to someone age 50 or older. The average caregiver for this demographic is a 50.3 year-old female taking care of a relative. This relative is most often a parent or parent-in-law. The person they are caring for is most often suffering from a long-term physical condition or a memory problem. Half of these caregivers say they did not have a choice in taking on the caregiver role.

Caregivers of older adults are more likely than caregivers of younger adults to report excellent or very good health, but the same number report fair or poor health. They are more likely than caregivers of younger adults to report high levels of emotional stress (38%). Approximately 60% of caregivers of older adults were employed in the past year.

No matter the age of the caregiver or care recipient, it is important that caregivers know they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them. In our next blog, we’ll highlight some great tools, resources and supports that you can use and share with other caregivers in your community. Until then, check out the caregiving section of WISER’s website for more information.

WISER’s November Caregiving Blog Series was written by Kassie Barroquillo.

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