It was an honor to be featured in a recent news story about what Caring Hearts calls the Caregiving Dilemma.
Local 12 News here in Cincinnati recently featured my colleague Cheryl Hammons, senior vice president of franchise services for Caring Hearts Home Care, along with her sister-in-law, Gina Clawson, who experienced the Caregiving Dilemma firsthand a few years ago. Gina was a caregiver to her mother until she passed away from cancer, and she shares what it was like to be thrust into a caregiver role that she wasn’t prepared for. They interviewed me at the end of the piece, too, regarding how families should research senior home health care and other elder care resources.
You can hear the full story in this video:
It’s so important that stories like these are told. As our elderly population continues to expand at an unprecedented rate, younger family members will increasingly be called on to support them in a caregiver role.
Unfortunately, this often causes tension in the family, and can lead to feeling out of control. At Caring Hearts, we aim to help family caregivers avoid this Caregiving Dilemma, allowing adult children to be their parents’ daughters and sons again rather than just their caregivers. The fact is that the Caregiving Dilemma is growing—which the following data helps to illustrate. Therefore, it’s important that we prepare accordingly.
Here are five scary facts about family caregiving, plus one reason to stay hopeful:
1) The Caregiving Dilemma is widespread.
Nearly 30% of the general population provides care for an older adult, or someone living with illness or disability. (Caregiver.org)
2) We assume our family won’t need senior home health care.
One survey found that only 13% thought long-term care would affect them. (Aflac WorkForces Report)
3) Caring for an older or an ill loved one could make you sick, too.
About 1 in 5 family caregivers think their own health has suffered because of the caregiving tasks they do. (AARP)
4) When a loved one begins to need help, there’s not always much time to make a decision about what to do.
Elderly loved ones risk developing worse conditions if their needs are not met. (MetLife)
5) We tend to avoid difficult conversations about elder care.
While about 90% of Americans want to discuss care needs that come at the end of life, only about 30% of Americans have actually done this. (N4A)
If you watched the news story above, you heard that Gina has already decided she doesn’t want her children to go through the same Caregiving Dilemma she experienced. The best way to prevent that is to start having conversations about your wishes in such a situation. If you talk now about how in-home health care could help you, it will be much easier to make an informed decision if necessary later on.
6) According to ElderCare.gov, “One of the most useful forms of help that adult children can provide for their parents is information about community resources that are available to enhance their independence.”
We’re calling these statistics “scary” in honor of Halloween approaching as we publish this. But with preparation and conversations, you don’t need to feel afraid for your family. In fact, #6 makes the list much less daunting: Just by helping an aging loved one understand the elder care resources available, you can begin to positively affect the future of your family right now.
Families Turn to Senior Home Health Care for Assistance
Many family caregivers are turning to senior home health care in order to escape the Caregiving Dilemma and improve their family’s situation. If you’re looking into how a home care agency could help your family, start exploring what’s available in your community. Do your research. Find an agency that has a solid background in and a record of providing care for a multitude of illnesses. Ask questions about caregiver training, the insurance they carry, medical alert systems offered, and more.
Read our 15 questions to ask a home care provider for more tips.