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.