The aging population is not only changing the face of the American workplace, it’s also changing how we live when we’re not working. According to a new study from the pew research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, about 40% of American adults now provide some kind of elder care assistance to an elderly family member.
The study, which looked at people between 2000 and 2013, talked to 3,014 adults. In 2000, 30% of those surveyed said they provided some kind of elder care assistance to a family member, while 39% reported the same in 2013.
40% of men and 39% of women said they provided some elder care assistance to at least one family member. A previous study showed that almost half of Americans said they expected to provide such services in the future.
The increase is largely attributable to advances in healthcare accompanied by an aging population. More people not only have to live with chronic diseases, but those who seek treatment in hospitals often stay for brief periods and are then returned home to recuperate. Upon returning home, it often falls to family members to provide the needed daily care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about half of the people in the United States live with chronic medical conditions. In 2000, seniors made up 12% of the population, but by 2030, that number will increase to almost 20%.
Further, a weakened economy also puts more pressure on families to provide their own care because they have fewer savings to rely upon.