Caring hands (Photo: Thinkstock)

The years add up quickly (or perhaps not, depending on one’s point of view) for parental and spousal caregivers, many of whom are in it for the long haul. In fact, they provide an average of five years of care, no matter their gender.

Although the stereotypical caregiver is female, that doesn’t necessarily hold true, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office on caregiving and retirement security — although female caregivers, spousal caregivers and Hispanic caregivers were found to be more likely to provide long-term daily care.

In addition, among spousal or parental caregivers who tended their relatives daily, and did so for at least 5 years, 61% were women — while among all parental and spousal caregivers, 56% were women.

Those more likely to provide long-term daily care were spousal caregivers, at 29%, while 8% of parental caregivers provided long-term daily care. And Hispanics were more likely, at 16%, to provide long-term daily care, compared with 12% of blacks and 10% of whites.

In addition, 54% of parental or spousal caregivers provided care for at least three years, while 16% provided care for 10 years or more.

And the older the caregiver, the higher the number of years of care; among those caregivers between the ages of 15 and 44, the mean duration of care was 3.9 years, while among those ages 45 to 50, it rose to 4.6 years. Caregivers ages 51 to 64 provided care for a mean of five years, while the oldest group — age 65 and older — provided a mean period of care amounting to 5.4 years.

According to the report, there was no statistically significant difference between the periods of care provided by white caregivers or by minority caregivers.