A growing number of people taking care of older family members are in the later stages of life themselves.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “An estimated 19% of the nation’s 53 million unpaid family caregivers are 65 and older, up from 13% in 2004. Caregivers in advanced age—75 and older—now represent 7% of caregivers, according to the 2020 Caregiving in the U.S. report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.”
The 2020 Caregiving in the U.S. report also showed other factors about the caregiving landscape in the country.
It stated, “[m]ost caregivers take care of a relative (89 percent), while just 10 percent care for a friend, neighbor, or other non-relative. Significantly more caregivers report caring for a relative than in 2015 (85 percent). Most are caring for a parent (42 percent) or parent-in-law (8 percent), or for a spouse or partner.”
It also found that more caregivers are assisting people for five years or more, which is a shift from previous years. In 2015, 24% of caregivers provided care for five years or longer, whereas in 2020, that number was at 29%.
The places where people are living and receiving care also shifted. In 2015, 48% of care recipients were living in his or her own home, but in 2020, that number dropped to 43% of care recipients. Likewise, in 2015, only 35% of recipients were living in the caregiver’s household, whereas that percentage jumped to 40% in 2020.
The report also noted that “[h]ousehold incomes for caregivers are higher in 2020 than in 2015, though this change may be due to both changed measurement and general wage change over the past five years. Three in 10 caregivers have a child or grandchild living in their home at the time of care and just 12 percent live in a rural area, down from 2015 (16 percent). Six in 10 are employed while providing care, while 1 in 10 is a student while caregiving.”
A 2017 report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College showed that around 10% of adult children providing care for their parents were between the ages of 60 to 69 years old. Around 12% of those children were seventy years old and up.
The Journal noted that while taking care of loved ones as they age can give purpose to people’s lives, it is also changing what many people envisioned for their own years of retirement. If caregivers are older in age, they also can have their own health issues that need tending to.
The rising age of the adult population paired with the low birth rate experienced by the United States in recent years demonstrates how this problem might not be going away.
The Daily Wire reported that provisional data on the number of births in the United States showed that the COVID-19 pandemic might have had less of an impact on a “baby bust” than was originally anticipated.
However, the birth rate has been going down over the last several years in the country.
In May of 2021, Pew Research reported, “In 2019, there were 58.3 births for every 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in the U.S., down from 59.1 in 2018, making it the fifth consecutive year in which the fertility rate declined.”
The Journal reported that in 2020, the number of babies born in the country was the lowest in forty years. “The total fertility rate that year—a snapshot of the average number of babies a woman would have over her lifetime—fell to 1.64, the lowest rate on record since the government began tracking it in the 1930s,” it added.
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