Surveys have become a part of the American culture. And the polling isn’t only confined to the world of politics.

One poll that attracted our attention was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll focused on young adults who are not necessarily devoting much thought to their own needs as the years advance, but are already providing long-term care for older loved ones. The results of the survey were disclosed by the Associated Press.

And while those who have caregiving experience put in fewer hours than their older counterparts, they’re more likely to feel stressed out by the experience. 

According to the poll, a third of American adults under age 40 have already provided care for an older relative or friend, and another third expect to be called upon to do so within the next five years.

According to the survey, 17% of young adults are currently providing long-term care to an older loved one, and another 19% have done so in the past. Three-quarters of younger caregivers spend less than 10 hours a week providing care, compared to most caregivers over age 40 who provide at least 10 hours of unpaid care a week. But despite putting in fewer hours of unpaid work, younger caregivers are more likely than older caregivers to say their care responsibilities are at least moderately stressful, 80% to 67%.

At the same time, most caregivers — younger and older — say they’re getting most or all of the support they need, with young caregivers especially likely to say they receive that support from family members.

In addition to the 35% who already have experience providing care, another 34% of adults under 40 expect to become caregivers at some point in the next five years.

Younger prospective caregivers are more likely than those age 40 and older to say they feel unprepared to take on that role, 53% to 37%. Still, the AP noted, most say they expect to share caregiving responsibilities rather than take them on alone. Among all young adults, less than half say they’ve done any planning for the potential care of an elder relative.

An interesting point in the survey showed most young adults have little confidence that government safety-net programs will be there for them as they get older and they’re not too sure about their own financial situation, either. Only 16% of younger adults are very confident that they’ll have the financial resources to deal with their own care needs as they get older.

We view the results of the poll as something that should send off alarm bells when it comes to caregiving. Young adults are feeling the tension regarding long-term care. As the nation’s population continues to age, safety-net programs need to be in place to support the caregiving that comes with it.

Now is the time to find out how state and federal politicians feel about this segment of society, and what they’re plans are to prepare for the problem. Caregiving deserves a place in the top-10 listing of all political candidates. We are glad to see that younger adults are thinking about the issue before it’s too late.