By June Fletcher
Caregivers are giving back to the folks who raised them, according to a recent Gallup poll of 2,805 working caregivers.
Almost three-quarters of caregivers who work at least 15 hours a week outside the home are caring for an aging parent. Seven out of 10 of those surveyed say the person they're caring for is older than 75.
Two-thirds of the caregivers live within 10 miles of the person they're taking care of, while 36% say the care receiver lives with them. That makes it possible for caregivers to devote time doing errands and other chores, and indeed, caregivers assume a lot of that responsibility for their loved ones. On average, they report spending about 13 days a month going shopping, do laundry and providing transportation, and six days providing more personal services such as bathing, grooming, dressing and feeding.
Some of the things caregiver do are administrative: about 13 hours a month are spent on setting up doctor visits, researching medical or care services and managing finances But far more time is personal: about five hours a day are spent in companionship or supervision of their loved one.
The ailments that their loved ones suffer vary—in 19% of the cases, it's either a "non-specific age-related disorder," and in 17%, it's some "other" problem, according to the poll. In terms of specific diseases that plague loved ones, Alzheimer's tops the list at 15%, followed by heart disease at 9%, Type 2 diabetes and cancer at 7% each, stoke or aneurysm at 5%, arthritis at 4%, memory decline at 3% and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, eye diseases and Parkinson's disease at 2% each.