Family dynamics are changing, forcing more adult children to provide financial and practical care for aging parents who are living longer.

But the burdens are not being shared equally by family members, according to the Northwestern Mutual report “Caring for Aging Parents Is Not a Family Affair.” Only a small minority of families share caregiving duties equally, the report says.

This comes at a time of exponential growth in the number of families with older matriarchs and patriarchs who need help with daily activities.

Forty percent of caregivers say their siblings are not assisting with caregiving at all, and another 41% say siblings offer some help but not enough, according to Northwestern Mutual, whose report surveyed 1,400 caregivers.

“Families are fundamentally changing in ways that impact how they’re able to care for aging parents,” says Dave Simbro, senior vice president, risk products, at Northwestern Mutual. “Parents are living longer, most of their children are working full time, people are having children later in life, and families are geographically dispersed. These evolving demographics underscore the importance of planning for long-term-care needs.”

The number of adults in the United States in their 60s who have at least one parent alive has more than doubled since 1998, according to research by the Urban Institute. Part of this is due to increasing numbers of people reaching their 60s; but it’s also because the parents of this cohort are living longer. The situation is creating various issues for the senior population, for the financial advisors who are trying to help them, and for society at large, the Urban Institute says.

In 1998, 20% of the population from the ages of 60 to 69 had at least one living parent, which translated into 3.9 million people who had to confront issues with an aging parent. By 2016, nearly 28% of the 60- to 69-year-old population, or just shy of 10 million people, had a living parent.

The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP say there were 43.5 million caregivers providing unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. The majority of caregivers (82%) care for one other adult, while 15% care for two adults and 3% for three or more adults. Caregivers say they provide a combination of practical and personal care, emotional support and financial support.

Instead of turning to uncooperative siblings, 43 percent turn to friends for help, Northwestern Mutual says.

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