Too often we underestimate the time obligation of caregiving. Adult children step up to be the primary hands-on caregiver having no idea that they may spend as much time caring for their parents as they spent raising their children.
We tend to think that we can burn the candle at both ends – that we can do it all. We think we can manage kids, career, spouse, house, and parents. If caregiving were a sprint, we could probably do it all. Unfortunately, it’s not. Caregiving is a marathon that you could easily spend 15 years focused on the health and well-being of your parents. Click the link above to learn more.
As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!
Tip # 18 of 50 – Where do I even begin?
If you are a senior living in your home or condo (or an adult child trying to help your parent or relative in this situation), you may know that living alone, for a variety of reasons, is not working. There may be a variety of obstacles in your world that make living at home either uncomfortable or perhaps impossible. Eyesight or hearing loss is oftentimes a big contributor, along with failing physical strength. Laundry room in the basement, anyone? Driving at night sometimes becomes problematic, and eventually, driving at all is problematic.
So, where to begin? First, take heart. There are many options available to you, and they’re not nearly as overwhelming as you might imagine.
First, there are services that are available to you in your home: housekeeping services, meal delivery, home health assistance. In our geographic area, The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA) is a wealth of information, and their phone number 614-645-7250 and can be found at www.coaaa.org. They offer a wide variety of referrals that can lead to good options!
Second, another wonderful option to consider is retirement community living. And if you have pre-conceived notions about what that entails, I urge you to reconsider. There are stand-alone independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing options, meaning, facilities that offer one or two levels of care that may meet your immediate needs.
Third, I also urge you to consider a continuing care retirement community, or “CCRC.” CCRCs offer all levels of care in one – higher levels of care are there if you need them. If there is such a community near you, and you want to stay close to your home, all you need to do is call their main number and say, “I’d like to come in and learn more about your community.” It’s that simple. I recommend you visit more than one, and as many as five, although three is a good number to do a real comparison. Take notes. Is it clean? Does the staff greet you? Are there residents who greet you? I always recommend having a meal wherever you visit, the quality of both food and the service varies greatly from place to place.
And what will you find at a CCRC? You will find help, and you will find peace of mind, and you will find security in knowing that whatever your needs are, they will be met. Socialization is a key factor to a long and healthy life, and it’s never too late to make lifelong friends.
And of course, I invite you to visit Wesley Glen, Wesley Ridge, and Wesley Woods at New Albany! At The Wesley Communities, we are welcoming communities of kindness and grace, where residents and staff thrive. We look forward to meeting you!
Caring for an aging family member is a labor of love. But study after study also shows the emotional, physical, and even financial stress that the caregiver incurs as a result.
Research conducted by MetLife revealed that approximately 10 million adult children over the age of 50 (that’s roughly a quarter of all Baby Boomers!) have taken on the role of caregiver for their aging parents, helping with a variety of tasks–everything from running errands and cooking to bathing and using the toilet. It’s a lot to take on, especially for caregivers who may also be juggling a career and their own children, which is likely why caregivers over age 50 who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to have fair or poor health as compared to peers who do not provide elder care.
A few other noteworthy stats from the study:
- Adult daughters are more likely to provide help with daily care, and sons are more likely to provide monetary assistance.
- The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these adult-child caregivers is nearly $3 trillion.
- For women, the total individual amount of lost income (wages, Social Security benefits, pension) due to leaving the labor force early and/or reducing hours of work because of caregiving responsibilities averages $324,044. For men, it averages $283,716.*
Yet despite all of these physical and financial drawbacks, the adult-child-as-caregiver trend continues to grow rapidly in the United States. The MetLife study showed that the number of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to an aging parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years.
Caring for the caregiver
It seems that caring for an aging parent is here to stay. So what can caregivers do to help alleviate some of the stress associated with the gig? Click the link above to learn more.