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Poll Finds Disability Caregivers On The Rise


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An increasing number of Americans say they are responsible for caring for a child with a disability, a new survey finds.

In a poll of over 3,000 individuals nationwide, the Pew Research Center found that 8 percent of adults in the United States had provided unpaid care to a child with a health challenge or disability in the previous year. That’s up from 5 percent in 2010.

The finding is in line with an overall rise in the number of Americans identifying themselves as caregivers. Across the board, Pew found that 39 percent of adults — or nearly 4 in 10 — are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues. Just three years ago that number was 30 percent, the research center said.

“More Americans are finding themselves on the front lines of health care as caregivers to a loved one, and often with little warning,” said Susannah Fox, associate director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and lead author of the report.

The trend is likely to continue as the population ages in the coming decades, experts say.

With regard to children, individuals polled were asked if they had provided unpaid care to anyone under age 18 because of a medical or behavioral condition or disability.

Among caregivers, more than half told Pew that online resources have helped them cope with their role. Most also said that information they’ve found online has been helpful to them in providing care.

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Comments (4 Responses)

  1. Ilene Martin says:

    My son is 45 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. My husband and I have always been his caregivers. I would like to know what online resources have been helpful to others in providing care. I have never found anything on line.

  2. marie camp says:

    Finding the right caregiver is very difficult and a local community service board should be able to help but sometimes it has to be the parent that has to push to get their services met. The more you push the more your voice is being heard. Caregivers need also to be paid a better wage.

  3. the.sound.of.the.silent says:

    Information-sharing and emotional support are invaluable online resources. Blogs and sites such as this one enable the isolated to advise, vent to and commiserate with other caregivers. Just a few short years ago, weren’t we desperate for such assistance? It’s sustained me through rough patches.

  4. Jeanette Flenoy says:

    I am a mother with two(twin males) who has autism. One with sever PICA and the other one, you just never know what next. He is a very smart male with every attention to do well. Everyone only sees what’s in front of them at that time. He is the youngest out of the two, but seems to be the wises because he mimics everything and panics if it doesn’t go right. But people sees him as someone who doesn’t need help. He paces the floor and at night they both go two to three days without sleep. People are quick to cut services that they do not see what is really a need. I pray and thank GOD each and everyday for the strength he has given me and the people he put there to help and be my sounding board. That is what really helps me with the help of GOD. I found out that there are those like me with love ones in this situation refuse the help or they are denied the services or put on a waiting list. The waiting list, I can understand, but being denied, I don’t, just because it does not fit their qualifications as a person with disabilities. My prayer is to be able to gather those together or join in on the Family Care Council (FCC) to help express your needs, wants and desires to help each other physical and mentally. These are the ways to help one another. We are in this together. Doctors are helpful with their knowledge in medication, but can not solve this situation.

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