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Caregivers Find Meaning in Caregiving, Study Says

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerJanuary 14, 2019

Nearly 15% of adults in the United States provide unpaid care to another adult. Recently, a study from the Pew Research Center and analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) evaluated the duties of caregivers and found that many caregivers felt their experiences were very meaningful.

Learn more about caregivers in the U.S. and how they find meaning in caring for their parents and senior loved ones.

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver

The BLS tracks how Americans spend their time in a given day. Recently, a study evaluated how caregivers spend their time, providing hands-on assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), financial planning, providing medical care and transportation.

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The report found that adults caregivers in the U.S. spend nearly 80 minutes each day providing unpaid assistance, with 1 out of 5 caregivers spending less than 20 minutes per day caregiving and 11% spending more than three hours a day providing some type of care.

The study found that on average, the 15% of adult caregivers in the U.S. comprise their days of the following activities:

  • 8 hours and 23 minutes on sleep
  • 6 hours and 8 minutes on personal activities
  • 2 hours and 57 minutes on errands and housework
  • 2 hours and 35 minutes on paid work
  • 30 minutes on childcare

The report then compared the days of caregivers to non-caregivers, finding that:

  • Caregivers spend 79 minutes more per day on adult care than non-caregivers
  • Caregivers spend 79 minutes less on paid work than non-caregivers
  • Caregivers sleep 23 minutes less than non-caregivers
  • Caregivers spend 17 minutes more on housework and errands than non-caregivers
  • Caregivers spend 5 minutes less on childcare per day than non-caregivers
  • Caregivers spend 1 minute more on personal activities than non-caregiver

How Caregivers Find Meaning in Caregiving

The report also found that caregivers in the U.S. find their adult caregiving duties meaningful.

In fact, caregivers rated 47% of their caregiving experiences as “very meaningful.” Caregivers also reported being “very happy” during 32% of caregiving activities, but admitted to being “very tired” during 8% and “very stressed” during 5% of these activities.

The report also found that older caregivers found caregiving more meaningful than younger generations. Caregivers over the age of 75 said that 82% of their caregiving duties were meaningful while caregivers between the ages of 45-59 found 53% meaningful. However, older caregivers also found their caregiving responsibilities more burdensome, saying they felt “very tired” during 15% of their caregiving duties.

How do you find meaning in your caregiving responsibilities? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer
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Alissa Sauer
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