Do you realize how many people are caring for an elderly parent or relation each week? According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, around 34.2 million do. Of those, 15.7 million are caring for an adult with dementia. In the U.S., there are over 91 million adults over the age of 54. This means around 38 percent of today’s aging Americans receive unpaid care.
Obstacles That Make It Hard to Be a Caregiver
Today’s family caregivers tend to be younger than before. Many family caregivers are part of what’s called the sandwich generation. In addition to caring for a parent, you have kids at home. You’re providing care for two generations.
If your parents don’t live with you, you’ll have to care for two homes. You’ll have laundry and housekeeping in your own house and the same at your parents’ home. You’ll also be cooking meals and snacks in two homes. It can be overwhelming.
When you have kids at home, you’re likely still working to build your retirement funds. If you provide full-time care to your parents, you’ll have to give up some of your work hours. That can negatively impact your finances. That’s why many family members look for ways to make sure their parents have care without it always being their responsibility.
Even if you think you can afford to care for your parent, it’s hard work. Your parents may not enjoy having you telling them what they need to do. You might find some of the tasks to be awkward. Helping a parent shower or brushing and flossing their teeth may be too difficult or embarrassing. You’d rather keep working at a job you love.
Alternatives to Unpaid Family Care
If your parents have the financial resources, senior care services work well. Your parents stay in their home, but they have help during the hours you have to be at work. Senior care aides come to their home and follow a daily schedule of tasks your parents cannot do independently.
You could also pair your senior with adult day programs. These are programs that your parent goes to during typical work hours. The activities are designed to stimulate the mind and help seniors remain social. Meals, snacks, and outings are usually included in the daily schedule.
Respite care is often overlooked until you’re past the breaking point. Don’t let your duties as a family caregiver become overwhelming. You can still care for your parent but have a senior care aide to help spell you from time to time. Call our senior care agency to arrange respite care now.