How a Caregiver Can Ease Your Burden and That of Your Loved One
We all prize our independence and it can be a tough discussion when our safety demands that our independence be somewhat limited. Many people are initially resistant to the idea of a caregiver, or more drastically, senior home care. For those living with dementia, who are disabled, or who are at risk for falling or injuring themselves, caregivers can be an instrumental and important part of keeping a loved one safe. It’s often a necessary talk to have, but it’s good to know the facts and be able to present them to your loved one. This can often allay their fears and embarrassment. Many feel shame that they seemingly can no longer take care of themselves, which is part of the reason they’re resistant to the idea of a caregiver. They may feel that local in home care is invasive, when it can in fact, be quite the opposite. With the right caregivers, your loved one can stay in his or her own home with a little additional help and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is being watched over and cared for.
What’s the Need Look Like?
You may have heard the term, “the graying of America.” It’s true — America, as a nation is getting older. People who are 85 years or older are one of the fastest growing parts of the population. In 2012, there were almost 6 million people who were over the age of 85 and that number is steadily growing.
There are over 65 million caregivers (either informally or on a more professional scale) taking care of an aged, ill, or disabled person in the United States. By 2050, it’s estimated the number of people using long-term care services will double to 27 million people, from the 13 million people who used those services in 2000. These settings include at home care, assisted living, or skilled nursing facilities.
These numbers certainly reflect a growing need for caregivers — and perhaps as time goes on, the stigma against aging and receiving care will also lessen.
What Are Some Benefits to Having a Caregiver in the Home?
Staying at Home
Almost 90% of seniors said they want to be able to stay in their own homes as they get older; they call this “aging in place.” Over 80% wanted to stay in their homes even if they needed some assistance from day to day or required ongoing health care in their retirement years. Under 10% wanted to move to a facility and less than 5% wanted to go to a relative’s home.
Part of this ties back to the need for independence and living by one’s own rules, which he or she has done for the majority of their lives. Over 40% of seniors cite this as a main reason to want to stay in their home.
A caregiver can give someone that option. If they need limited assistance, it’s easy for a caregiver to either move in and give round the clock care or come when needed, keeping the person free to live in their own home.
Reducing the Burden
If you have an elderly, disabled, or sick loved one, it can be highly stressful to provide care. Genworth Financial conducted a study that showed over half of all respondents said their worst fear was being a burden should they suffer from a long-term illness or event. With a caregiver, that burden is reduced on the family, and the patient’s worry can also be alleviated.
Studies have shown that the happiest retirees partake in three to four activities a week. It’s important to keep one’s body and mind active, especially in old age, and a caregiver can often offer that support. If the person needs accompaniment to various activities or support, a caregiver can easily help fill that role.
There are many positive benefits to retaining a caregiver for your loved one. In time, your loved one may even come to regard them as a part of the family and there are all different levels of care, depending on what’s needed. Explore your options today!