Caring for an aging family member is a labor of love. But study after study also shows the emotional, physical, and even financial stress that the caregiver incurs as a result.
Research conducted by MetLife revealed that approximately 10 million adult children over the age of 50 (that’s roughly a quarter of all Baby Boomers!) have taken on the role of caregiver for their aging parents, helping with a variety of tasks–everything from running errands and cooking to bathing and using the toilet. It’s a lot to take on, especially for caregivers who may also be juggling a career and their own children, which is likely why caregivers over age 50 who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to have fair or poor health as compared to peers who do not provide elder care.
A few other noteworthy stats from the study:
- Adult daughters are more likely to provide help with daily care, and sons are more likely to provide monetary assistance.
- The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these adult-child caregivers is nearly $3 trillion.
- For women, the total individual amount of lost income (wages, Social Security benefits, pension) due to leaving the labor force early and/or reducing hours of work because of caregiving responsibilities averages $324,044. For men, it averages $283,716.*
Yet despite all of these physical and financial drawbacks, the adult-child-as-caregiver trend continues to grow rapidly in the United States. The MetLife study showed that the number of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to an aging parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years.
Caring for the caregiver
It seems that caring for an aging parent is here to stay. So what can caregivers do to help alleviate some of the stress associated with the gig? Click the link above to learn more.
As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!
Tip #17 of 50 – Why not just move into a hotel for your retirement?
You may have seen the cartoons and ads and articles that suggest (some in all seriousness) that the price of retirement home living is high so, “Why not just move into a hotel?” The article then usually goes on about the price per day, and usually concludes (inaccurately) that hotel living is the better deal financially. Click the link above to learn more about why retirement communities are far superior to hotels.
Recently, The Wesley Ridge Retirement Community book club read the historical fiction novel, The Atomic City Girls. The group was lucky to have the author, Janet Beard, visit to discuss the book and meet with the residents who read it.
The novel chronicles the making of the atomic bomb in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where hundreds of young women were hired to work on special tasks, which were never truly explained. The workers at Oak Ridge were instructed that they were helping to win the war, but were told to ask no questions and to reveal nothing to outsiders.
While all of our Wesley Ridge book club members were excited to meet with the author, one resident in particular, Janet Herring, had an even greater enthusiasm, she was one of the young women who worked at Oak Ridge in 1945. Click the above link to learn more about Janet and her interesting past.
We all want our parents to remain as active and independent as possible, and we want the same thing for ourselves! Regular exercise is pivotal for seniors. Seniors are at greater risk for disease, lost mobility, and falls than any other age group. Conversely, they often realize the positive effects of exercise more quickly than other age group. If your parent hasn’t been exercising, it can be difficult to get started.
Healthaging.net offers some tips to get over that initial hump.
- Look for daily opportunities to exercise. Park away from the store and walk briskly to the entrance.
- Try several different exercises to find what you like best. You will be more likely to stick with the ones you enjoy doing.
- Find a buddy. You are less likely to skip a workout if it means saying “no” to a friend.
- Join a walking group, visit your local Y, rec center, park, church or senior center. Malls often open early to allow walkers to get in a workout before the shopping starts. Working those ever important hamstring muscles helps to decrease the risk of falling.
- Balance is so important. Stair climbing, getting out of a chair, and other acts of mobility increase your balance.
- Breathe deeply. Just filling the lungs with air can stave off pneumonia. Combine those deep breaths with fully stretched arms being raised straight out and then overhead and you can increase your range of motion at the same time. Add some music and work it to the beat!
- Keep it fun! Batting around a balloon can be aerobic, and can increase your range of motion whether you do it from a chair or on your feet! There is no need for seniors who use wheelchairs to miss out on the fun, or health benefits. Jodi Stolove’s chair dancing offers a variety of stretching, muscle building, and cardio exercises that can be done from the comfort of a chair.
By exercising the recommended 20 minutes each day, you reap the health benefits of improved circulation, digestive functioning, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, greater strength and flexibility, and a more positive outlook!
The above article was written and published by Barbara McVicker
If you or a loved one is considering their senior living options, you likely have begun doing research on the retirement communities. Or perhaps you have a loved one in need of long-term care or memory care and staying in the home will not be safe for much longer. With all of the differing communities and facilities available (especially in larger cities), it can be a lot to take in so the decision process can take some time. This varies from one person to another because some senior living decisions are needs-based and move much quicker, while others are more preference-based and can take months or even years. Once you hone in on a few specific places that meet your criteria, you may want to consider getting your name on their waiting lists. Many facilities, particularly assisted living or nursing care facilities, are likely that they have one. Click the link above to learn more.
For those of us “in the industry,” retirement community living makes a great deal of sense. We know that loneliness is a major factor in the mental and physical decline in the senior population. We also know that the residents who live in our communities are glad they’re here . . . and that they often say, “I wish I’d come sooner.” Learn more about how The Wesley Communities are not like your grandmother’s retirement community by clicking the link above.
What age group of adults would you think is the happiest? If most people were to guess, they’d likely assume people in their 20s and 30s are the most content. Why wouldn’t they be, right? They are young and likely healthy, and they have their whole lives ahead of them, full of potential and exciting events.
If you think young adults have it all, you may be surprised to learn the results of a study conducted out of the University of California-San Diego; the research results were published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Happiness comes with maturity…click above to learn more.
If this title caught your eye, you may very well be on the horns of dilemma. You might be an adult son or daughter, a spouse, or a good friend from church or the neighborhood, and you’re dealing with a very tricky problem – your loved one probably shouldn’t be driving anymore. There have been a few too many “Mr. McGoo” moments, perhaps a damaged garage door or fender with no explanation? Or worse? An accident where someone has been injured? The latter is actually easier to deal with than the former, I’ve found. Click above to learn more about when (and how) to take the car keys away.
There has been a media blitzkrieg (and resulting changes in state and federal regulations regarding nursing home care) about the benefits of staying at home “as long as possible” as we age. Who wouldn’t, after all, want to stay at home? It’s well, home. And home can be familiar and welcoming, with daily routines, good memories, and familiar surroundings.
But what if staying at home isn’t the best option? Click above to learn more about the case against staying at home as you age and the many benefits of continuing care retirement communities.
With summer on its way, there’s a sense of renewal and opportunity; it’s a great time to make a fresh start! Click above for tips on selling your home.