As the weather cools, we see the opening of some schools, and the traffic is noticeably picking up each day, it almost feels like a fall. We'll focus this month on some of the more tangible aspects of senior care, like technology, planning, and financing care. But first, before any of those can occur, it's essential that you take care of yourself, the family caregiver.
Before you dive in though, if you are looking for an easy way to get light exercise and support a good cause, please consider donating to or joining our Walk to End Alzheimer's team -- coming up on Saturday, 10/17 (details below).
- Older caregivers are more likely to care for a spouse or partner. The average age of spousal caregivers is 62.3. Many caregivers of older adults are themselves growing older.
- The average caregiver of a recipient 65 years of age or older is 63 years old. Of these caregivers, one third report being in fair to poor health.
- About 65 million Americans have provided unpaid care to a loved one that is unable to fully care for themselves
- The value of services provided by informal caregivers has steadily increased over the last decade, with an estimated economic value of $470 billion in 2013, up from $450 billion in 2009 and $375 billion in 2000
- More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias – these caregivers provide an estimated 18.6 billion hours of care valued at nearly $244 billion.
The primary causes of caregiver stress can typically be grouped into categories such as:
- Fatigue - both mental and physical
- Family relationships stress and strain
- Stress of household and job management
- Caregiver health
It is impossible to care for others when your own cup is empty. We've included articles below to provide additional tips to help support caregivers. Remind yourself daily, weekly, or even hourly to take a deep breathe and find something that enables you to focus on yourself - a walk, a hobby, a phone call with a friend. And if you are not able to find that for yourself in a day -- consider joining forces with an agency like FirstLight Home Care to allow yourself the time to rejuvenate and recharge.
Sources: [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.][Administration on Aging. (2005). NFCSP: Complete Resource Guide.]
[AARP Public Policy Institute. (2015). Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update.]
Molly Johnson is FirstLight Home Care Silicon Valley's Director of Client Services. She is focused on helping seniors age-in-place in a safe, healthy, and dignified manner. An advocate for not only their senior and disabled clients, FirstLight looks to put the tools and support in our families hands that encourage necessary respite and rejuvenation to tackle their daily caregiving roles.