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Caregivers in America

By HERWriter
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The National Institute of Health (NIH) defined a caregiver as an individual who provides care for other adults or children.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), there are more than 43.5 million caregivers (19 percent of adults) in the U.S. "The Evercare Survey of the Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Family Caregiving" estimated the value of annual caregiving at more than $375 billion dollars.

The study, "A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 50 or Older, " revealed the average caregivers are married females and 50 years of age. She will be a caregiver for an average of four years for more than 20 hours per week. Interestingly, more than 13 percent of caregivers will spend more than 40 hours per week providing assistance to their loved one. Also, she is more than likely caring for a relative who is her own mother.

More than 75 percent of the time, the caregiver is also employed. This group stated they were more than likely looking for ways to balance family and work.

The most frequent reasons for caregiving are:
• Aging issues
• Forgetfulness (confusion, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease)
• Heart disease
• Cancer

According to the study, here are the demographic breakdowns of caregivers by nationality:
• 76 percent are White
• 11 percent are African-American
• 10 percent are Hispanic
• 2 percent are Asian-American

From a cultural standpoint, it was a custom for the youngest Hispanic female to care for her mother in her aging years. This cultural difference may explain why Hispanic caregivers are significantly younger and less likely to be married when compared to their counterparts. Also, Hispanic caregivers tend to be the primary caregiver of their loved ones.

Also, Asian-American caregivers tend to be 50 percent male.

Caregiving can be emotionally challenging for those who are caring for a family member. More than 43 percent surveyed said "they did not feel they had a choice in taking on this role." In regards to the employed female caregivers, more than 20 percent reported symptoms of depression.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.