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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

Caregivers to elderly see major time commitment

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The vast majority of Americans providing long-term care to seniors are caring for their parents, according to a new Gallup poll of self-identified caregivers. Respondents to the poll said they spend a minimum of 15 hours looking after their loved ones, with 67 percent providing care to a senior who is 75 or older.

More than half of caregivers who took part in the survey said they had been providing care for three or more years. Another 31 percent reported providing care from between one and three years, while 15 percent had been doing so for less than one year.

The survey revealed the extent to which caregivers must rearrange their lives in order to provide care to an ailing senior. Caregivers make a considerable time commitment in caring for their loved ones, with performing errands and completing tasks, such as going grocery shopping, doing the laundry and providing transportation, taking up the most time. On average, caregivers spend 13 days each month performing such duties.

When it comes to assistance with eating, dressing and using the bathroom, caregivers spend only six days per month. This finding likely stems from the fact that 64 percent of caregivers say the person they care for lives apart from them. Administrative tasks such as researching health-care services, booking doctors’ visits and managing finances also take up caregivers’ time, filling 13 days per month.

Because caring for their loved ones is a labor of love, most caregivers go beyond seeing to the basic needs of the person they care for and report spending an average of five hours per month providing their loved ones with supervision and companionship as well.