Family / Caregiver Issues

Resources to address the challenges facing the family caregiver while providing strategies to assist them.

Nearly 40 Million People Provide Unpaid Care to Elders

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More Americans taking on care-giving duties for elderly loved ones and friends.

More Americans taking on care-giving duties for elderly loved ones and friends.

Do you provide care to a parent or other aging loved one? Maybe you pick up prescriptions, cook meals, help with laundry, or regularly give a bath? If you do, you are one of nearly 40 million Americans who provide unpaid eldercare, with many spending as much as three hours per day providing care services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  

Eldercare providers are defined as people who provide unpaid care to someone age 65 and older who need help due to conditions related to aging.

This care can be provided to household or non-household members, as well as to someone living in a retirement home or assisted care facility. Eldercare can involve a range of care activities, such as assisting with grooming, preparing meals, and providing transportation. Eldercare also can involve providing companionship or being available to assist when help is needed, and thus it can be associated with nearly any activity.

From 2011-2012, there were 39.6 million eldercare providers in the nation, representing 16 percent of the U.S. civilian non institutional population age 15 and older, according to data from the BLS and the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). This percentage represents one of every six people in the United States who’s at least 15 years old.

Nearly 25 percent of caregivers fall into the 45 to 64 age range, and about 16 percent of caregivers are 65 and older.

The Sandwich Generation

A number of caregivers were adult children providing care to their parents and children of their own, which the BLS referred to as the “sandwich generation,” as they are in between two generations that require care.

These adult caregivers represented 45 percent of total eldercare providers included in the ATUS analysis. Of the eldercare providers who were parents, 78 percent were employed, and 64 percent were employed full-time.

This group of working parent caregivers were also less likely to provide care on a daily basis than the overall population of eldercare providers, 13 percent compared with 20 percent.

Read the entire 2011 American Time Use Survey.

10 Tips for Family Caregivers

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Family Care Givers

Resources for family caregivers are available.

Are you caught up in the sandwich generation – working a full-time job and caring for children and parents? Perhaps you live far away from your parents and are trying to provide care long distance? Do you have a parent or spouse recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease?


Whether you are a family caregiver or a professional caregiver, there are resources available to you. Go to the Caregiver Action Network and check out 10 Tips for Family Caregivers. In addition, the Caregiver Action Network provides caregiver information and support resources, from spotlighting elder care issues to getting home health services for your loved one.

Top 8 Medication Management Strategies to Keep You Safe

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Medication Management

It’s common for seniors to get confused by their medicines and forget which medicine they need to take and at what time of day.

Medication errors at home and in the hospital are occurring at an alarming rate and are the leading cause of death and injury among patients. Communicate with your health care providers to ensure your medicines add to your health, not take away from it.

When we are sick, we turn to medications to make us healthy. Medications keep many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis in check. They make pains go away, allergy symptoms disappear, viruses vanish, and feelings of depression and anxiety manageable. When used correctly, medications make our lives so much better. However, on the flip side, when medications aren’t used correctly, our health can take a major turn for the worse.

An adverse drug event occurs when a patient is harmed as a result of exposure to a medication. Some common adverse drug events especially among older people include falls, depression, confusion, hallucinations, and malnutrition. Adverse drug events account for nearly 700,000 emergency department visits and 10,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Fifty-three percent of hospitalized patients there for medication-related injuries are over age 65. Read more