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Women are at the forefront of one of the most fundamental transformations of the 21st century. For the first time in human history, the number of people older than 65 will be larger than those under age 5. Demographers say that the fastest growing age group is those older than 85. One study found that this group will be diagnosed with a terminal illness an average of three years before their death. Those years are filled with doctor and ER visits, cooking and cleaning, filling prescriptions and assisting with the bathroom.

Women are central to this demographic shift because as these elderly need to be cared for, many women—daughters, nieces, mothers, and friends—are the ones stepping up to meet this challenge of caregiving. In fact, of the 66 million Americans doing this work for a family member, two-thirds are female, with an average age of 46. Their unpaid services to family members are estimated to be worth $148 billion to $188 billion annually.

While many men share the work of caring for their elderly family members, it is mostly women who take up the task. The load may not fall the way it should. However, the fact remains that it is women who, step up to the caregiving challenge.

For women, and for all caregivers, these facts have implications—especially for the church.

Please read the full article at Gifted for Leadership, the women’s leadership blog at Christianity Today.

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