Consider Caregiving in the Real World
Current statistics say that one in five adults in the U.S. are caregivers. The average caregiver is age 49 to 51 years old, female, married, working outside the home and is taking care of her parent or in-law according to the latest surveys.
Another trend in our country is that most people prefer to live independently in their own home as they age. The term “aging in place” is defined by the National Institute on Aging as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Many home improvements and mobility devices have been developed to assist older persons to remain safe an independent in their home. You can visit Caregiver-Aid.com to view the many choices.
In time, more and more assistance may become necessary for a senior. Eventually, living alone may no longer a good option for a senior. Safety dictates it’s time for a more personal approach.
As a concerned caregiver, you may consider choosing an assisted living center or to consider caregiving with a more hands-on approach by living in the same home. As you probably know, there are many points to consider in making your choice. Available time, finances and work are factors which will play a role in your decision.
I cannot address all options here, but I can speak from experience of being a caregiver. So here’s my list of the pros and cons to help you consider caregiving.
- Your loved one would prefer to be home with you. No one really wants to go to a nursing home, and a nursing home is not the best placement for every elderly person.
- Many caregivers benefit from “caregiver gain”, by maintaining better physical strength and a growing sense of personal satisfaction, confidence and family closeness.
- If you have children at home, then involving them in some way will help them to learn about compassion, patience, sacrifice, and how to prioritize life’s events. Learning these attributes will benefit them throughout their lives.
Advantages for your Loved One:
- You are best qualified to care for your family member because you love and understand them. Knowing their likes and dislikes, their personal temperament, and the presence of the family bond allows you to provide a better quality of life usually.
- As seniors grow older, they tend to become more forgetful and more easily confused. Caregiving can allow you to be present at medical appointments and control medicine schedules. You can help prevent medical complications that can result from a patient’s mistakes due to confusion or dementia. Safeguarding their health can make a great difference in their quality of life.
- You can get help by assembling a team of extended family, friends and neighbors. You can also get home healthcare services paid by Medicare if the loved one is 65 or older. These services could provide nurse visits, physical therapy, and even a bather. An adult day care center can also be very helpful to caregivers who are working outside the home.
- Your loved one may really dislike being dependent on you or anyone else. Being resistant just makes the job more difficult.
- Your life’s plans and schedules may be interrupted or even forever changed. But to be fair, there are plenty of events in life that can result in a change of plans such as a job change or illness, etc.
- Caregiving can be mentally stressful and physically demanding.
- Caregivers can “burnout” and develop their own health issues if they don’t have help or don’t make the effort to take care of themselves.
In reality, there’s no denying it. If you’re considering being a caregiver, you’ll have to embrace sacrifice. But we want to encourage you to not be afraid. Caregiving is a honorable endeavor that will bring forth all your best qualities, while improving the quality of life for your loved one.
In the end, you’ll be glad you did.