Poll: 20% In U.S. Care For Aging Parents

generic elderly old woman senior geriatric walker flag US CBS/iStockphoto

One in five Americans has had the responsibility of caring for an aging parent - by taking them into their homes or paying for their care - but many more are concerned about having to do so. Providing this care can be stressful: four in ten of those who have had the experience of caring for aging parents say issues involving that care have often led to disputes among family members.

One in five Americans, 21 percent, say they are either caring for an aging parent or have had to do so in the past – 16 percent are doing so now and 5 percent once did. This responsibility varies by gender, and women are twice as likely as men to be caring for an aging parent right now.

CARING FOR AN AGING PARENT?

Yes, now
16%
Have in the past
5%
No
79%

Americans 45-64 years old – most of whom are part of the "baby boom" generation - are the most likely age group to be providing care right now.

43 percent of those who are now or who have given care report that the situation caused disputes among family members. Women who've cared for aging parents are more likely than men to say it caused disputes.

HAS CARING FOR AGING PARENT CAUSED DISPUTES AMONG FAMILY MEMBERS?
(Among those caring for now or have in past)

Yes
43%
No
57%



But whether caring for parents now or not, most Americans - 64 percent - are concerned about having to do so, including four in ten who are very concerned.

CONCERNED ABOUT HAVING TO CARE FOR AGING PARENT?

Very concerned
43%
Somewhat concerned
21%
Not too/not very concerned
26%

Men and women are about equally concerned. 72 percent of younger Americans under 30 are concerned, as are those 30-44 (73 percent are) and most of those 45-64 (63 percent).

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,142 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone February 8-11, 2007. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.
  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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