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Report: Number of family caregivers on the increase

And they rely heavily on the Internet for health information

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | June 25, 2013

Nearly four in 10 U.S. adults — 39 percent — are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

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Pew Research Center report on family caregivers

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That's up sharply from 2010 when the percentage was 30 percent. And the care is most commonly delivered by adults between ages 30 through 64, which means they most likely are still in the workforce and dealing with other responsibilities.

Researchers attributed the increase to the general aging of the population and to the prevalence of chronic illness among seniors, meaning more people likely are caring for elderly parents or other relatives. They said a survey showed that "fully 75 percent of U.S. adults age 65 or older are living with a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease."

Furthermore, "numerous studies have shown that the day to day management of these complex medical cases fall squarely on family members and friends who may not be trained."

They said the study showed that the caregivers were "turning to every resource available to get the information and support they need."

A large percentage reported relying on the internet for health information.

The report was based on a nationwide telephone survey of more than 3,000 adults.



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