Weren’t things supposed to be getting easier for you at this stage of your life? All the years you’ve put into your career have finally begun to pay off, and the kids are finally out of the nest. How, then, do you find yourself more exhausted and stretched even thinner than ever, struggling to do another job on top of your first one?
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That job, of course, is caring for your elderly parent or other loved one. Statistics tell us that the “average” North American caregiver is an employed, forty-nine-year or older, female who devotes nearly 20 hours a week to providing care. Perhaps if she had options, this average caregiver would continue to focus on her career while still making sure her ageing parent is safe and healthy while she’s away. However, most family caregivers try to make accommodations at their workplace; decreasing their hours, taking a position of lesser responsibility, or quitting work altogether.
Caregivers want to do the right thing for their elders, but the consequences to their own lives can be dire. The caregiver can lose earnings, employment benefits, and health insurance. Case studies have actually suggested that becoming a caregiver for aging parents in midlife may significantly increase the chances of the caregiver spending her own old age in poverty.
One excellent option for the employed caregiver is to consider employing an in-home senior care provider on an as-needed basis. Whether the elder simply needs companionship to break up the long days, or assistance with bathing, dressing, and other needs, a home health aide can make a huge difference at a rate that the elder’s loved ones will likely find very affordable — particularly when they consider the value of being able to retain all the present and future benefits that go along with full-time employment. Additionally, home care is beneficial to seniors in a number of ways, especially in that it allows them to remain in their own familiar surroundings, following their daily routines in peace and comfort.
Caregivers need to consider their own health and aging process, as well. Baby Boomers caring for aging parents while they attempt to balance other responsibilities are at an increased risk for developing chronic illnesses, diminished emotional health, and substance abuse. Family caregivers are apt not only to forget their own medical appointments, but to go without adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise.
Such sacrificial care for a beloved elder is certainly admirable, but not necessary when there are other options available. The most important thing a caregiver can do is to call in reinforcements when their own strength and energy runs too low to cope.
No elderly person wants to feel that he is a burden to exhausted, resentful loved ones. Whether the caregiver needs a temporary break to recharge her batteries, or daily assistance to allow her to focus on other responsibilities, we can help.
The services of a quality senior care provider can make a clear difference to the lives of both elder and caregiver. Please contact us to discuss the needs of your loved one and the flexible options we have available.