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Study: Young Canadians providing care, 2012

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Released: 2014-09-24

In 2012, 1.9 million (27%) of young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 29 provided some form of care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, disability or aging needs.

Data from the 2012 General Social Survey showed that ailing grandparents were the most frequent recipients of young caregivers' help, with 4 in 10 young caregivers reporting primarily helping their grandparent over the previous year. Parents were the next most common group, with 27% of young caregivers looking after the needs of their mother or father.

Providing care was more common among young women, with 31% of women under the age of 30 providing care compared with 24% of young men.

Overall, young caregivers typically spent about three hours a week providing assistance to a family member or friend. This help most often involved meal preparation and cleaning (66%), transportation to and from appointments or shopping (66%) and house maintenance or outdoor work (60%).

Caregiving responsibilities sometimes adversely affected schooling and work, with one in five young caregivers enrolled in school reporting missing deadlines, not attending classes, having less time to study, being distracted or experiencing other negative outcomes related to their educational experience. For those young caregivers working at a paid job or business, 36% reported arriving to work late, leaving early or taking time off because of their caregiving responsibilities.

  Note to readers

The analytical paper "Young Canadians providing care" uses data from the 2012 General Social Survey on Caregiving and Care Receiving to examine the number of young caregivers in Canada and their characteristics, along with the relationship of the caregiver to the care recipient, types of help provided, the number of hours of care, and the impact of caregiving duties on young caregivers.

The analytical paper "Young Canadians providing care," part of the publication Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey (Catalogue number89-652-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Other related analytical products on caregiving and care receiving are also available: "Canadians with unmet home care needs," "Receiving care at home," "Family caregiving: What are the consequences?" and "Portrait of Caregivers, 2012."

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