Many US children serve as caregivers for the elderly, ill

October 1, 2005

More than 1 million children between 8 and 18 years of age in the United States are caregivers for relatives who are ill or have a disability, according to a study just released by the Administration on Aging of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Most assist grandparents or parents with such illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer. The two-pronged study comprised a random telephone survey of 2,000 households to determine the prevalence of child caregiving and telephone interviews with more than 200 caregiving and non-caregiving children. More detailed findings:

The study was released just as the US Census Bureau published data showing that the median household income has failed to increase during any of the past five years, the national poverty rate has risen for the fourth consecutive year, employer-based health insurance coverage continues to shrink, and Medicaid rolls are growing.