Healthy World, Healthy Nation, Healthy You

Caregiver’s Corner

When Family and Friends Take on the Role of Care Giver

At some point in time of our lives, we will have the role of caring for family and or friends who are sick or elderly. This role is one that few have training for. It is an important role and one that requires support and understanding. In some cases, the patient will be at home and in other cases, the patient will be in an extended care facility or nursing home. In any of these cases, those who are advocating for a patient needs guidance and support to both do a good job for self as well as the person you are caring for.

Most everyone will be a caregiver at some point in their lives. For example, even when specialized care is needed, most older people prefer to stay at home. Often adult children and other family members take on the care giving responsibilities — providing rides, picking up prescriptions and helping out around the house. Eventually, they may even be managing high-tech medical treatments, assisting with daily activities and dealing with end of life issues.

Retrieved from : AARP:

Nearly 10 million people over the age of 50 are caring for their aging parents, according to a study conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in conjunction with the National Alliance for Caregiving and the New York Medical College. The number of caregivers has more than tripled over the past 15 years. And this number will grow in time as the population ages. We need to be prepared for these roles.

That increase reflects medical advances and the resulting increase in human longevity. As the average age of death has moved from 68 in 1950 to nearly 79 now, the ranks of the elderly have grown. Today, about 6 million U.S. residents are over 85.
As a result, the personal cost of caring for the elderly at home is rising — in terms of lost wages and diminished pension and Social Security benefits, the MetLife study concluded.

Studies estimate that 2 out of 3 informal caregivers are women, many of whom are middle-aged mothers with children or adult children living in their households.
The cost of putting a parent into professional assisted-living care can be daunting. MetLife says that kind of care averages about $42,000 a year. A private room in a nursing home averages more than $87,000. But the cost of keeping a relative at home can be very high too.

shutterstock_94426954The MetLife report said that for the typical woman, the lost wages due to dropping out of the labor force because of adult caregiving responsibilities averages nearly $143,000. That figure reflects the wages lost while not working — typically for about five years — as well as lower wages after returning to the workforce with rusty skills. When foregone pension and Social Security benefits are counted, the out-of-pocket losses roughly double.

“Family caregivers are themselves aging and yet are providing care at a time when they also need to plan and save for their own retirement,” MetLife said. The people who drop out of the workforce “can jeopardize their future financial security,” the study concluded.

Retrieved from NPR:

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