The child of an elderly loved one will undoubtedly face terrible stress when trying to care for him/her. My respected colleague, Kurt Hjelle, owner of Safe At Home Health Care, a non-medical home care agency specializing in live in caregivers, does a wonderful job of describing the realities of caring for an elderly loved one:
Every single week, I am contacted by a family member — typically the son or daughter of a senior citizen — who is looking for help.
Their parent (or parents) are starting to have some struggles, and it’s taking its toll on the entire family.
Here’s just a few examples of what your parent might be experiencing:
• They might be forgetting to take their medications.
• Maybe they aren’t bathing frequently or putting on clean clothing each day.
• They could be missing meals because meal preparation has become difficult.
• Perhaps they’re becoming incontinent and they need assistance cleaning up after accidents.
• Maybe they’ve been having issues with balance, or even fallen down once or twice (that they’ve told you about).
If your parent is having some issues, I’m going to guess that you are stopping by their home frequently – maybe even two or three times per day – to check on them and make sure they are safe.
But eventually it will catch up with you…and on your entire family.
All that time, dedication and assistance can take its toll on all of you.
There are alarming statistics on the impact these additional responsibilities are having on the elderly person’s family.
You are being stressed, not just from what you’re managing with your parent, but how that time, and possibly, money, is impacting other parts of your life.
I saw an Infographic titled “Exposing the True Costs of a Long Term Care Event,” from Genworth, an insurance company that offers long term care insurance.
First, the infographic showed the impact this is having financially on the the adult children of senior citizens.
Here’s an excerpt:
– they miss an average of 7 hours of work per week
– they lose, on average, 33% of their income for each year they are providing care for their parents
– on average, they spend $10,000 per year on out-of-pocket caregiving expenses
– their savings and retirement funds are being drained to pay for the care of their parent (or parents)
But here’s what is worse.
Genworth’s data shows that providing care for their parent is also having a huge, negative impact on their own personal health.
– 54% experience negative feelings as a result of providing care, including guilt and resentment.
– 43% said it negatively affected their personal health and well-being.
– 51% said providing care for their parent reduced the time they spent with their children, spouses/partners, or time taking care of themselves.
I could go on and on with data and information – but here’s what is important.
There are all kinds of experts who can help you through time — you simply need to connect and seek out their help.
There are attorneys; doctors; insurance companies; both home care agencies and home health care agencies that specialize in issues for elder care.
There is a lot of information — possibly too much information — from many different sources. (Don’t worry – this book will guide you through all of it.)
It can be confusing and overwhelming to navigate through it all, and make good decisions.
Plus, you might have several family members involved in caring for and making decisions for your seniors, and that’s a good thing. But it can also make decision-making more difficult, depending on your family dynamics. That’s when independent third-parties can be especially helpful.