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Caregiving: Partners/Spouses

  • By: Martin Pinquart
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

It is estimated that in the United States 5.8 million informal helpers provide care to an older adult (65+ years) who needs assistance with everyday activities. Spouses are usually the first in line to assume caregiving responsibility. If the spouse is not able to care for the frail elderly, often the adult children take the caregiver role. According to the 1999 National Long-Term Care Survey and Informal Caregiver Survey, about 99% of the spousal/partner caregivers are married to the care recipient, and about 73% of them are wives. Spousal caregivers provide, on average, 41 hours of support per week, including 38 hours with personal care, such as help with eating, dressing, bathing, and toileting. Almost half of them have provided care for more than 4 ...

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