Caregiving 101

Posted on December 24, 2011 by Elder Care Phoenix in Dr. Alexis Abramson

It’s quite likely that at one point or another we will all be faced with what is often referred to as the “impossible profession” – caregiving.  Currently there are over 44 million caregivers in the United States — nearly one in four U.S. households is involved in caring for a relative or friend aged 50 or older. The average age of a caregiver is 57.  Caregiving is largely a women’s issue. Some 72 percent of caregivers are female, mostly wives and adult daughters. More than one in three, however, are mature adults themselves (65 years of age and older).

Caregiving can last from less than a year to over forty years. 80 percent of caregivers provide at least some type of unpaid assistance seven days a week. By 2030 one in five Americans will be at least 65, for a total of about 70 million older people, more than twice the number than in 1996.  Over100 million people in the U.S. have one or more chronic condition and over the next twenty-five years this number is expected to increase to 134 million Americans.

Here are some important online caregiver resources for you to consult when you are feeling you need caregiving support, respite or simply someone to talk to!

Online Caregiving Resources

Caring for an aging loved one is one of the hardest jobs you will ever have.  There will most likely be times when you’ll feel that you just can’t go on – times when it seems you and your family can’t agree on anything; times when no one, including your parent, appreciates what you’re doing, yet everyone makes you feel invisible; times when you feel you just can’t pick up another prescription, schedule another appointment, lose another night’s sleep or see your parent slip further away from the strong, competent adult who once cared for and protected you.  Yes, there will be times when every day, indeed every hour, feels like a struggle for survival.

It’s times like those that you must reach out for help.  You must.  Though it may seem hard to believe at this point in your life, your caregiving duties won’t go on forever.  When your days as a caregiver have ended, you’ll want to look back and know you did the best you could for your parent with all of the resources available to you.  You’ll want to know you made the most of the last days, months and years with your loved one – surviving the bad times but always remembering to seek out and cherish the good.

Just as important, you will want to have a life to return to – filled with people you love, activities that interest you, and the good health to enjoy them.  Your aging oved one would want nothing less for you!

Sources: 

Family Caregiver Alliance (www.caregiver.org)

National Family Caregivers Association (www.nfcacares.org)

Web MD (www.webmd.com)

Trust & Estates (www.trustsandestates.com)

U.S. Census (www.census.gov)

Caring Connections (www.caringinfo.org)