The holidays are fast approaching and that means you may be making your shopping list and are wondering what to get the senior or caregiver in your life. From easy-to-operate computers that allow the seniors in your life to stay in touch via email or video chat to a personal medical alert device system, there are many unique items on the market that could be ideal this gift giving season.
If you’re a caregiver who helps with an aging loved one suffering dementia or Alzheimer’s you understand it is a never-ending duty of love that you provide. During the month of November, awareness is raised through the National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
Did you know that there are more than 50 million Americans who provide care to an aging or ill family member? The value of the services they provide are estimated to be more than $300 billion annually, but the value to caring for a loved one goes beyond the monetary. Many caregivers feel the need to give back to their aging parents and happily take on the role of caregiver.
As the baby boomers age, the number of people needing a caregiver or home health aide in the near future will sky rocket. Based on a study done by the AARP, the ratio between caregivers and those needing care is currently around 7 to 1. That ratio will steadily dwindle over the next 20 to 30 years until it gets to a staggering 3 to 1 ratio in the year 2050 when most baby boomers will be around 80 years old. That is a scary statistic for those who will need the help in near to mid-future!
Today’s families are no longer just mom, dad and the kids; in many cases there are blended and step-families and this can lead to the need for conversations like “Who’s going to care for Mom and Dad as they age?” This is especially true if a couple had been married for decades and the in-laws were an integral part of their lives – it’s not always a relationship that is easily dismissed.
In our increasingly mobile society, chances are you don’t live next door, or even within quick driving distance, of your aging parents. If you find yourself in this situation and find that your parents are in need of more care than you can give from your long distance vantage point, there are ways to address this. You can help them age in place, keep them safe and keep your sanity and guilt at bay.
In many instances, taking on the role of caregiver is something that most individuals aren’t prepared for and when it happens it is often in times of crisis. When you find yourself thrust into the role of caregiver whether it’s for an aging or ill parent or spouse, it’s ideal to have access to resources to help you though.
There is no right or wrong approach to caregiving for a friend or family member. Each family's needs are different and your caregiving style will develop as you better understand accessibility, family wishes, physical wellbeing, and your personal relationship with the person. Your style should be one that permits you to adjust your caregiving style to the particular family’s’ needs. The key is discovering a caregiving style that works for you, which you may find, will develop through the years. As you navigate your part as a family caregiver, you should consider these caregiving styles.
A recent study showed that nearly one in five caregivers in the United States provides more than 40 hours of care to a loved one every week. That is startling when you realize that many of those caregivers, the so-called Sandwich Generation, are also caring for families of their own as well as pursuing full time careers. It’s no wonder that so many adults are being faced with fatigue and chronic illnesses as stress takes its toll on your body both mentally and physically.
Are you a caregiver in need of additional assistance in caring for aging or elderly relatives? You may find you’re at the stage of needing to hire an in-home health aide and this could be a decision as fraught with fears as it was when you hired someone to care for your children. If you have an aging parent that is unable to care for him or herself you need to carefully weigh the options of allowing them to age in place or making a move to an assisted living type facility.