ATUS is now tracking eldercare, reports AARP blogger Sally Abrahms in this new post, Eldercare Finally Recognized by Feds.
The American Time Use Survey, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will now include caring for elders as a trackable activity in the US. It’s a significant move, says Abrahms: “For laymen, it provides insight into how Americans spend time, what they do, and with whom. The study further propels momentum for coming up with solutions and policies to ease the burden of family caregivers.”
The addition shouldn’t come as a surprise to those of us in the eldercare industry who are all too familiar with the “age wave,” but the fact that it is being recognized on a more universal level is exciting. It’s a historic moment, too. According to the article, the next two decades will see “nearly 10,000 people a day” celebrating their 65th birthday.
It will be quite interesting to see how this new category impacts decisions made by the federal government related to caregiving — solutions and policies to ease caregivers’ burdens, as Abrahms said. I am hopeful that seeing these striking statistics in a new context may prompt policymakers, regulators, and other persons of influence to take action, to make changes on a systemic level. I am hopeful that it will bring caregiving into the open, and we can all begin the work of building a better support network for caregivers coast to coast.
Maybe I’m being idealistic to hope that statistics can change people’s minds, but sometimes, getting an issue on the radar in a big way (i.e. in a way the federal government formally recognizes) is a step in the right direction.
Talk back: What caregiving policy or solution would you recommend as a priority for decision makers?