The number of U.S. adults providing care for a loved one has increased to nearly 40% in the past two years and researchers predict this percentage will only increase as the population ages.
Four in ten (39%) adults in the U.S. are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues, up from 30% in 2010, according to Pew Research Center data.
Supported by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Pew Research Center’s report come from a nationwide survey of 3,014 adults living in the U.S.
While caring for a loved one is an activity that spans most demographic groups it is especially prevalent among adults ages 30 to 64—a groups that is traditionally still in the workforce, notes Pew.
Caregivers falling within these parameters were also found more likely than other adults to gather health information online, such as medical problems, treatments and drugs.
Often, family caregivers look toward popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to research health conditions.
With 75% of U.S. adults age 65 and older currently living with at least one chronic condition, the survey finds that these caregivers are also motivated to learn more about handling caregiver stress or about their loved one’s health challenges.
When asked about the specific impact of the Internet, 59% of caregivers with Web access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to provide care and support for the person in their care.
Additionally, 52% said online resources have been helpful in their ability to cope with the stress of being a caregiver.
Though the percentage of adults that provide care for a loved one has increased 9% since the study was conducted in 2012, researchers project the number of individuals providing care for a family member will increase as a result of several factors.
“As the U.S. population ages and medical advances save and extend more lives, caregiving is likely to become a more common role than it has ever been before,” writes the survey’s authors.
Written by Jason Oliva