Family caregivers and leisure: An oxymoron?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Leandra A. Bedini, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: As we enter the 21st century, we are the beneficiaries of a myriad of medical and technological advances. As a result, we are living longer, and often healthier, lives. In many cases, however, we live longer but with compromising medical conditions. Add to this the increased costs of health care and stricter restrictions in managed care. Consequently, many individuals are finding themselves becoming the primary care-providers for ill and disabled family members. According to the National Survey of Families and Households (Arno, Levine, & Memmott, 1999), there were almost 26 million informal family caregivers in the United States in the late 1990s. Based on the 2000 Census, projections suggest that this number may be as high as 54 million. Family caregivers are made up of spouses, children, parents, and other relatives. They have loved ones who are ill or have disabilities that require care ranging from minimal to 24-hour assistance, and with conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, and Down's Syndrome. The profile of a family caregiver shows that many have responsibilities in addition to caring for their ill or disabled loved one. According to a national study, the average age of a caregiver is 46 years old. Over 75% of family caregivers are female, two-thirds are married, and 41% also have children under the age of 18 living in the home. Additionally, 64% of these caregivers are working, and 52% of these work full-time (The National Alliance for Caregiving and the American Association for Retired Persons, 1997). Recent research verifies that the loss of leisure for caregivers is related to stress and health problems. The focus of this research update is on describing these findings and discussing what parks and recreation professionals can be doing to help family caregivers lead balanced lives.

Additional Information

Parks and Recreation, 37,(1), 25-31
Language: English
Date: 2002
Family caregivers, Leisure, Stress, Health problems, Recreation programs

Email this document to