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:: Choices - End-of-life Care
:: African American Caregivers
:: Asian American Caregivers

Informal caregiving, or non-professional, unpaid care occurs in 29.4%* of Black families in the United States, compared to 24% of White households. The providers of this care on average are women (77%), which is slightly higher than the national average of female caregivers. The average age of these women is 46 years old (44%), fifty percent are married, and they are more likely to have children under age 18 in their households. These women have completed secondary school education and are employed full-time (55.6%), but have a household income of under $15,000 (29.1%).

African-American women provide care to immediate family members (mother, . grandmother, father, etc.) but are also more likely to care for distant relatives and non-family members than other groups. Unfortunately, they are also more likely than other groups to manage the task without benefit of support from other family members (49% Vs 36%).

The recipients of this care frequently live with the care provider, are usually over age 75 (64%), and are more likely to have long-term illnesses such as dementia (28%), and stroke (12% compared to 7% for other groups). While Black caregivers provide many of the same activities as their counter parts in other groups (Instrument Activities of Daily Living - IADL's, transportation, finances, domestic chores), they are more likely to give medications (51% Black Vs 35% White) and spend on average 20.6 hours per week in this role without the benefit of instruction on how to perform many of the caregiving tasks.

How are these women managing a full-time job, children and providing 20 hours of care per week? According to NAC, African-American women caregivers are more likely to experience physical strain (19%), emotional stress, and experience financial hardships (63%). Coping mechanisms they use to deal with the stresses of caregiving include prayer, talking to friends or relatives and seeking professional help.

One source that these caregivers look to for help is " The Caregiver Sourcebook". It provides them with answers on how to manage the responsibilities of providing care and a resource directory of programs, services and products to help busy caregivers connect with professional caregivers in their community.

*Statistical data from National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) "Family Caregiving in the US; Findings from a National Survey" 1997.


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