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Eldercare Finally Recognized by Feds

Wahoo, eldercare has arrived! The latest federal survey, which tracks how much time people spent per day working, performing household tasks, engaging in leisure activities, and taking care of children in 2011, has a new category: Eldercare.

This entry into the annual American Time Use Survey (ATUS), put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reflects the deepening responsibilities Americans age 15+ have for providing unpaid care to someone over age 65–perhaps a parent, spouse, relative or friend.

And just wait: Nearly 10,000 people a day in the United States will turn 65 in the U.S. for the next 20 years. As the 78 million baby boomers age, those number of hours are going to escalate big time.

Eldercare covers a lot of turf, from helping with meals and medication to grooming to transportation to companionship. Or really, anything else that needs to be done.

The ATUS is weighty information used in federal economic, health and safety, and family/worklife balance research, as well as for international comparisons. The inclusion of eldercare is significant. For laymen, it provides insight into how Americans spend time, what they do, and with whom. The study further propels momentum for coming up with solutions and policies to ease the burden of family caregivers.

Here are the survey headlines:

Which statistics did you find most interesting? My pick: Very few recipients live with providers. What is your eldercare situation?

Follow Sally Abrahms at www.sallyabrahms.com and on Twitter @SallyAbrahms.