Los Angeles (PRWEB) May 28, 2008
More than 50 million men and women in the baby boomer age bracket, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year within the United States. However, many are not prepared for the commitment of time this care may be needed.
Most family members readily jump in to help a parent, grandparent, or spouse. The adult child will put his or her own life on hold, with the assumption that the need will be temporary or at best short-term. 54 percent expect to be caregivers less than 24 months.
In fact, according to the MetLife Juggling Act Study - ' Balancing Caregiving with Work and the Costs of Caregiving', by the Met Life Mature Market Institute, published in November 1999, only 46 per cent expect to be caregivers longer than two years. The study proved that the average length of time spent on caregiving is actually about eight years, with approximately one third of respondents providing care for 10 years or more.
"As a family, we really want to ensure that both mom and dad can stay in their own home, but the strain of providing this care is taking a toll in our own families", Melinda T. of San Antonio Texas. Melinda and her 3 siblings are all married with children, each family residing in different states from one another and their parents are residing in a state separate from all three. In order to provide the care needed, they've been taking turns flying out to stay with their parents one month at a time.
Many families are realizing that though they can be actively involved in overseeing the care for their aging older parents, it is far less stressful if the family hires caregivers for the activities of daily living.
"Now that we've found a reliable in-home care provider for mom, our visits are spent doing fun things with mom, or just sitting and chatting." "We're no longer exhausted from doing chores for her and still keeping our individual home and work responsibilities going." Frank E. of Los Angeles California.
It isn't always easy to hire outside of the family. Mom and dad may resist to having 'strangers' in the house. The adult children may feel guilty over the prospect of admitting he or she cannot 'do it all'. When the level of care that the parents are in need of far exceeds the skill of the adult child, families often times begin discussing nursing homes as an option.
Though nursing homes have generally improved upon their level of quality care, the thought of giving up the independence of residing in ones own home, is often a point of contention among families.
Hiring in home care can be very stressful in the beginning. It is a daunting task for most adult children and also for the senior because it is uncharted waters." "Generally, families learn how to do this by trial and error," states Barbara Mascio, founder of Senior Approved Services, LLC.
Senior Approved Services, a national service that uses customer satisfaction reporting as part of its ability to pre-screen home care companies, has prepared a self-help booklet that outlines the most important safety concerns of hiring in home care services and how to avoid contracting with a less than desirable service.
The booklet, Tips on How to Hire In Home Care, sponsored by Abbey Caregivers of Los Angeles California, is available free of charge at the Seniors Approve web site. Abbey Caregivers (http://www.abbeycaregivers.com) is a Certified Senior Approved non-medical in home care provider. To download the booklet, please visit http://www.seniorsapprove.com/how-to-hire.html
More Facts about the Stress of Family Caregiving:
The stress is real for caregivers. According to Mascio, the families surveyed from 2003 to 2008, reported:
· 45% of those providing care for three or more years report a stress-related illness such as hypertension, depression, frequent colds and flu, back injuries, body pain, headaches, insomnia, recent weight loss or gain, Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
· 83% report that the responsibility of caring for a loved one has negatively impacted their work history, putting their jobs at risk.
· 73% report that caring for a parent has put an enormous stress on their marriage.
Family caregivers providing high levels of care have a 51% incidence of sleeplessness and a 41% incidence of back pain. Source: National Family Caregivers Association, Caregiving Across the Life Cycle, 1998
The stress of family caregiving for person's with dementia has been shown to impact a person's immune system for up to three years after their caregiving ends thus increasing their chances of developing a chronic illness themselves. (Source: Drs.Janice-Kiecolt Glaser and Ronald Glaser 'Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 30, 2003.)
Family caregivers who provide care 36 or more hours weekly are more likely than non-caregivers to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. For spouses the rate is six times higher; for those caring for a parent the rate is twice as high. Source: Cannuscio, CC, C Jones, I Kawachi, GA Colditz, L Berkman and E Rimm, Reverberation of family illness: A longitudinal assessment of informal caregiver and mental health status in the nurses' health study. American Journal of Public Health 2002; 92:305-1311.