Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 1 » Consumption and Age - Theoretical Framework, Diversity Among Older Persons, Overview Of Household Spending, Differences In Consumption Among Older Persons

Consumption and Age - Caregiving: Time Use And Consumption

aging percent caregivers help hours

Another important use of time by older persons is the time spent providing care to others. Although studies report somewhat different statistics on caregiving, this is likely to be a reflection of the manner in which caregiving is defined. For example, the Senate Select Committee on Aging (1988) reported that about 80 to 90 percent of elder care is informally provided by the family. The average caregiver is a 57-year-old female, but 36 percent of caregivers are over 65.

Slightly more than one-fourth of those 65 and over who participated in the 1991 Commonwealth Fund Survey reported providing informal assistance to a sick or disabled relative, friend, or neighbor during the previous week (Doty, 1995). About 15 percent of Commonwealth Fund Survey respondents age 65 and older who reported providing care to sick or disabled persons during the previous week reported providing more than twenty hours of care. Forty percent of persons age 65 and older with children reported that they had provided informal assistance of a nonfinancial nature to children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren during the previous week, and 11 percent reported providing twenty or more hours of help.

According to the 1989 National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS), 53 percent of the primary caregivers of the disabled elderly were themselves 65 or older, and 18.7 percent of the care-givers of the disabled elderly were 75 or older. Primary caregivers are defined as individuals who bear most of the responsibility for providing long-term care for a disabled elder.

Data collected for the Assets and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) study on respondents age 70 and older revealed the amount of help provided for people age 70 years and older with activity limitations. Some 51 percent of paid and unpaid caregivers provide help every day, 21 percent provide help several times a week, 14 percent provide help once a week, and 14 percent provide help less than once a week. When help given to people aged 70 and over was measured by hours-per-day, 34 percent received 1 hour of help, 46 percent received 2 to 5 hours, 9 percent received 6 to 10 hours, 4 percent received 11 to 23 hours, and 7 percent received care 24 hours per day. The pool of family caregivers is dwindling, however. In 1990 there were eleven potential caregivers for each person needing care. In 2050 the ratio will be four to one.

The demography of the U.S. population is changing in many ways. The increasing average age of the population is important. As the proportion of older consumers continues to increase, they are likely to account for an increased share of total expenditures. An examination of trends revealed that older consumers were similar to younger consumers in what was purchased. However, Paulin points out that the population of older consumers in 2000 were not members of the baby boom generation. He speculates that there may be more diversity in tastes and preferences as the baby boomers age.

SHARON A. DEVANEY

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABDEL-GHANY, M., and SHARPE, D. L. "Consumption Patterns Among the Young-Old and Old-Old." Journal of Consumer Affairs 31, no. 1 (1997): 90–112.

ANDO, A., and MODIGLIANI, F. "The Life Cycle Hypothesis of Saving: Aggregate Implications and Tests." The American Economic Review 53, no. 1 (1963): 55–84.

CARO, F. G., and BASS, S. A. "Increasing Volunteering Among Older People." In Older and Active: How Americans Over 55 Are Contributing to Society. Edited by S. A. Bass. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995. Pages 71–96.

DEATON, A. Understanding Consumption. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

DEVANEY, S. A. "Economic Status of Older Adults in the United States: Diversity, Women's Disadvantage, and Policy Implications." In Gerontology: Perspectives and Issues, 2d ed. Edited by K. Ferraro. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 1997. Pages 285–304.

DOTY, P. "Older Caregivers and the Future of Informal Caregiving." In Older and Active: How Americans Over 55 are Contributing to Society. Edited by S. A. Bass. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995. Pages 97–102.

FRIEDMAN, M. A Theory of Consumption Function. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1957.

HARRISON, B. "Spending Patterns of Older Persons Revealed in Expenditure Survey." Monthly Labor Review, 109, no. 10 (1986): 15–17.

HITSCHLER, P. B. "Spending by Older Consumers: 1980 and 1990 Compared." Monthly Labor Review, 1116, no. 5 (1993): 3–13.

Institute for Health and Aging. Chronic Care in America. University of California-San Francisco for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1996.

JACKSON, M. E. Informal Care of the Disabled Elderly: A Research and Policy Initiative. Final report to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lexington, Mass.: SysteMetrics, 1992.

MOEHRLE, T. "Expenditure Patterns of the Elderly: Workers and Nonworkers." Monthly Labor Review 113, no. 5 (1990): 34–41.

National Academy on an Aging Society. "Caregiving: Helping the Elderly with Activity Limitations." Washington, D.C.. May, no. 7 (2000): 1–6.

PAULIN, G. D. "Expenditure Patterns of Older Americans, 1984–1997." Monthly Labor Review 123, no. 5 (2000): 3–28.

RUBIN, R., and NIESWIADOMY, M. L. "Expenditure Patterns of Retired and Nonretired Persons." Monthly Labor Review (1994): 10–21.

RUBIN, R., and NIESWIADOMY, M. L. Expenditure of Older Americans. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 1997. Volume 117, no. 4.

RUSSELL, C. "The New Consumer Paradigm." American Demographics April (1999): 50–58.

Select Committee on Aging, U.S. House of Representatives. Exploding the Myths: Caregiving in America. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988.

STONE, R. "Defining Family Caregivers of the Elderly: Implications for Research and Public Policy." The Gerontologist 27 (1991): 616–626.

[back] Consumption and Age - Volunteer Service: Time Use And Consumption

User Comments

The following comments are not guaranteed to be that of a trained medical professional. Please consult your physician for advice.

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or