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Time Spent Helping Elders Studied

The 2011 American Time Use Survey (ATUS) collected information for the first time about provision of eldercare. It looked at the average time spent per day in various activities.

There are 39.8 million civilian eldercare providers who do not work in an institution. These are unpaid caregivers who help someone over the age of 65. The majority of these providers are women.

Most are younger than their charges. Those ages 45 to 54 provided 23 percent of eldercare, and those ages 55 to 64 provided 22 percent. Age 65 and older provided 16 percent of needed care.

In the 2011 study, most providers (69 percent) cared for only one elder person. In many cases (42 percent), they cared for a parent. At the same time, 23 percent were also parents of underage children.

Activities

The study defined a range of care giving activities. Helping elders to groom and dress themselves, food preparation, and providing transportation were important activities. Financial management, lawn care, cleaning or doing laundry were other tasks. Simply providing companionship or assistance as needed made eldercare even more inclusive as to activity levels.

On a daily basis, providers spent on average just over three hours giving care. Leisure activities counted for half of this time. Household activities took on average 42 minutes. Many caregivers also were employed outside the home, which affected the time available for care giving. Self-employed workers who were able to work at home provided more eldercare during the day than other providers who were employed.

Caring for our nation's elders is important as baby boomers age. The Elder & Disability Law Firm in San Bernardino county salutes those who provide this service. We are experienced in Elder Law for those who need legal help in this area.

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