Government Now Tracks Time Spent Providing Elder Care

Every day, Bureau of Labor Statistics interviewers ask Americans to detail how they spent the previous 24 hours, how many minutes and hours they devoted to everything from shopping to child care to phone calls. The results, culled from 12,500 respondents, make up the American Time Use Survey. It began in 2003, but only last year did the bureau start asking about a key activity for millions of people — elder care.

There’s rarely a shortage of personal stories about giving care to an elderly loved one. While there has been some private sector data on the subject, now there is official governmental information directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Bureau is the very same agency that publishes information on the Consumer Price Index, the Producer Price Index, and just about every government statistic, including the American Time Use Survey. This survey works to quantify how much time Americans devote to various tasks – and have to devote to those tasks in the first place. Interestingly, the survey has begun to include the activity of providing unpaid care to someone over age 65 “because of a condition relating to aging.”

As reported in a recent post in The New York Times – The New Old Age Blog in an article titled “New Numbers on Elder Care,” the Bureau has wanted to track this activity since 2003. Nevertheless, the addition is fairly recent and the results for 2011 have been published. The summaries shed light on the experiences of many Americans.

One of the key lessons to learn is that it is never too early to plan for the caregiving of elder ones loved ones. Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss how you can help care for your loved ones.


Reference: The New York Times – The New Old Age Blog (July 5, 2012) “New Numbers on Elder Care

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