Elder Caregiving in Rural Communities
Projected demographic trends indicate a dramatic increase in this country’s elderly population in the twenty-first century (Rogers, 2002; U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Thus, elder care looms as both a current and future public health concern for our nation. Nowhere is this issue more pressing than in rural communities, which have proportionately more older residents (Rogers, 2002); 29 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, report elder populations in excess of the national average (12.4%), with almost one in three Black elders in the South residing in a rural area (Coward & Krout, 1998; U.S. Census, 2000). At present about a quarter of all elders in the United States live with either their spouses or alone in a rural community. Because of employment-related migration of young and middle-aged adults to urban centers, fewer elders live with or have regular access to their children and grandchildren, which can be a chronically stressful situation (Johnson, 1998). Rural America is characterized by growing diversity and the rural aged are a heterogeneous lot, who present unique challenges to the health, service, and aging networks.
KeywordsRural Community Family Caregiver Informal Caregiver Nurse Care Manager Rural Elder
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