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Millennials, Men, and Hispanics are Frequently Caregivers, Offering Strenuous Unpaid Care to Adults

First Posted: Jun 05, 2015 03:36 PM EDT
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AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving has released a news report asserting that a large chunk of the nearly 40 million Americans who offer unpaid care to relatives and/or friends are Millennials.

According to the report, the typical caregiver is female (60 percent), has a full-time job (34 percent), lives with/close to a care recipient (82 percent) and says that caregiving is highly stressful (38 percent). Also, they're likely to provide 24.4 hours of caregiving per week, over a span of four years. However, higher-hour caregivers reported working at least 21 hours per week, for an average of 5-1/2 years, with 46 percent experiencing high emotional stress.

One in three Hispanic households include a caregiver, according to research conducted by Evercare and the National Alliance for Caregiving, and Hispanic caregivers report more intensive caregiving situations compared to the general population (63 percent compared to 51 percent).

"As Latinos, caring for our elders isn't a choice -- it's an inherent cultural responsibility. It's a big task to take on and it's wonderful to have the opportunity to work with the Ad Council and AARP, who provide support to so many generous caregivers. It's important to remind them that they are not alone in their efforts," said Luis Miguel Messianu, president and chief creative officer of Alma, in a statement.

One-third of caregivers are between the ages of 50 and 64-years-old. That being said, today millennials of both genders comprise nearly one-in-four caregivers in the U.S., providing transportation, feeding a recipient, managing finances and help a recipient to get in and out of a bed/chair. Also, men, who are often stereotyped as failing to take on caregiving responsibilities, represent 40 percent of family caregivers, providing an average of 23 hours a week. Additionally, caregivers ages 75 or older are often the sole source of support for loved ones, without help and without payment.

While millions, including millennials, are doing a great deal to offer care to loved ones, employers are unfeeling and unsupportive when it comes to caregivers, said the report. With an average household income of $45,700, caregiver struggle financially, and they find it difficult to find affordable caregiving services (delivered meals, transportation and in-home health servicer), leaving them to carry the financial strain and physical burden of caring for their loved ones.

"We're especially concerned that not enough is being done to support family caregivers in the public or private sector as they age," said Gail Gibson Hunt, president and chief executive of the National Alliance for Caregiving, in a released statement. "There's a double-edged sword when we fail to support caregivers, because we put both the caregiver and the care recipient at risk."

Dr. Susan Reinhard, senior vice president and director, AARP Public Policy Institute and chief strategist, Center to Champion Nursing in America, also remarked that by mid-century, there will be just three family caregivers available for each person needing care. Supporting existing caregivers who are underserved would make the field more attractive to others and help to promote long-term service.

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