More than a Million Children Provide Familial Care in the US

More than a Million Children Provide Familial Care in the US
The most recent statistics surrounding family caregiving in the United States are staggering. A 2005 National Alliance for Caregiving report estimates that 65.7 million Americans are familial caregivers. Of that number, more than 16 million care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Shockingly, some of those caregivers are children.

1 million children 

Imagine this: Kids across the country board school buses, ride their bikes, or walk to school each day, and after their studies, return home to care for a relative. There are 1.4 million children between the ages of 8 and 18 who act as caregivers, including boys and girls in equal proportions. Most of them (72 percent) care for a parent or grandparent; 11 percent care for a sibling. Alzheimer’s or dementia is the most common condition for those under a child’s care. Thankfully, in most cases, kids aren’t the sole care providers.

Tasks kids perform as caregivers

The National Alliance for Caregiving studied 14 caregiving responsibilities that kids take on. The study indicates that nearly 60 percent of child caregivers help with at least one daily activity having to do with personal care: bathing, dressing, feeding, helping with bathroom requirements, or getting in and out of bed. The top responsibility for child caregivers was to provide company for a loved one. The second was helping with specific chores.

Negative effects on child caregivers

Caregiving is a challenge that can weigh heavily on children. According to the NAC study, 36 percent of care
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