Friday, October 12, 2007

What Lies Ahead For Family Caregivers?

Long term care is a family issue, but it is more often a woman’s issue. Throughout history women have been the primary caregivers in our lives. Women live longer than men. Women often care for family members young and old.

The first baby boomers are retiring this year. It is important to understand what lies ahead of us as our nation ages. Women also live longer than men and often care for family of all ages.

As our population begins to age, it's even more important that we understand what lies before us. Although we see increases in male caregivers all the time, the fact
remains that when it comes to Long-term care for our family members and our spouses, today women carry the weight. Daughters, daughters-in-law, wives, sisters, and nieces often ccept the role of caregiver for aging adults in the family. Across
the U.S. there are women commonly referred to as “the sandwich generation" who are
playing dual roles in their families. They are often a mother themselves, but caring for their own aging parents at the same time. The level of stress and frustration can be overwhelming.

Careers are being put on hold, and promotions passed upin order to accommodate the busy schedules of their children and their parents. Even so, there is still not enough time for these women to meet everyone’s needs. A financial burden results
as well.

Women in America also tend to marry men who are older than themselves. Therefore, they often end up caring for their chronically ill spouse in later years. When this happens, it is sometimes the case that all of the retirement funding and assets are used by the “ill” spouse for long-term care, leaving nothing in savings to care for
the “well” spouse later in life.

It is estimated that one out of two women will need long-term care at some point in their lives. One out of three men will also require long-term care. So why do more women need services? Our life expectancy is still longer than the average male.

So, then, when a caregiver needs a break, where can they turn? Caregivers of all kinds need a break now and then. So, where does a caregiver turn when they are feeling stressed out, tired, emotionally drained, or overwhelmed? Respite (res- pit) care is often the answer. Respite care is time off for the caregiver. Respite gives the caregiver time away to rest and do necessary activities so that you can continue to provide good care for your loved one. Often, being a caregiver is a job
that can be physically and emotionally draining. Without relief,your physical and emotional health can be affected, reducing the quality of care for your family member.

There are several options when it comes to respite care, which will follow in the next post.