Study: More Than A Million Children Care For Family
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 16, 2005
BETHESDA, MARYLAND--More than a million U.S. children ages 8 to 18 provide care to other family members -- primarily parents and grandparents -- with disabilities and medical conditions, according to two national surveys.
The studies were conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the United Hospital Fund, with financing from the U.S. Administration on Aging. In phone surveys, researchers determined that between 1.3 and 1.4 million children provide unpaid care to one or more adults with conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
According to the research, 58 percent of these children help with at least one routine daily activity, including bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring in and out of beds and chairs, and changing adult diapers. Nearly all of them help with shopping, household tasks and meal preparation, the report stated.
"In a lot of cases these kids don't really have the choice," said Gail Gibson Hunt, president of NAC and lead author of the study. "It's mind-blowing because nobody even knows about this."
Researchers also found that caregiving children are more likely to come from low-income, minority families and single-parent households.
"1 million U.S. children are caregivers" (USA Today)