It seems like in the past that older people were taken care of by their own families, who is taking care of the elderly at the present time?
Evidence from several studies and national surveys indicates that families are the major care providers for impaired older adults. Families provide 70 to 80 percent of the in-home care for older relatives with chronic impairments. Family members have cared for the typical older adult who reaches a long-term care setting for a significant amount of time first. Research has shown that adult children are the primary caregivers for older widowed women and older unmarried men, and they are the secondary caregivers in situations where the spouse of an older person is still alive. Parent care has become a predictable and nearly universal experience across the life course, although most people are not adequately prepared for it.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Monday, July 07, 2008