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The impact of long-term care of loved ones on their family caregivers is immense. For the caregiver, there may be no days off, no vacations or sick days. Caregiving may become a full-time job.

Physical, mental and emotional health concerns of the caregiver are often overlooked in the scramble to make sure the loved one is cared for properly. Personal health care appointments, healthy eating and exercise take a back seat, and mental health issues like stress, depression and anxiety are often overlooked completely. As a result, caregivers may suffer from an unusual about of stress, burnout and illness.

Among disabled older adults, statistics show that two-thirds rely solely on family members and other informal help to provide care within their homes,and the majority of this care is provided by spouses and daughters. Seeking the assistance of a professional caregiver is not as prevalent, with 26 percent receiving a combination of professional and familial help, and only nine percent receiving assistance solely from professional caregivers.

What are long-term care services? The most common type of long-term care involves assistance with normal tasks of daily living that an individual is no longer able to do for themselves, such as dressing, bathing, toileting and eating.

Unlike medical care to cure or manage a disease or chronic condition, long-term care is generally unskilled caregiving services.

Given that 65.7 million family, friend and neighbor caregivers provide care in the home, and that 69 percent of the 65+ population will develop the need for assistance with activities of daily living in their lifetime–not to mention the rapid growth of the elderly population–the future implications for caregivers and their families are staggering.

Women & Caregiving

Women bear the majority of the burden in caring for aging parents. An estimated 66 percent of caregivers are female, with the average being a 49-year-old woman who works outside the home and provides 20 hours of unpaid care weekly to her mother, according to caregiver.org.   

Not only do women provide care to their husbands and spouses, but they’re the most likely to need long-term care, too. They tend to live longer than men and are more likely to outlive their spouses.

Caregiving has a powerful impact on the caregiver’s finances and career, too. According to caregiver.org, the cost impact on an individual caregiver in terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equals more than $300,000, including decreased work hours, passing a job promotion or assignment, leaves of absences, quitting or retiring early.  Estimates indicate approximately 20 percent of female workers in the United States are family caregivers, 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty than non-caregivers.

Statistics are difficult to absorb, but effective in highlighting the facts. And the facts of long-term care are this: more than half of all families in the United States that include adults over the age of 65 will eventually require this type of care, and it’s not something that should be left to chance. The impact on the aging parent and the family caregiver must be managed.

There are modern care programs to provide support and services that ease the burden on family, such as family caregiver support programs offered by the State of Arizona and Continuing Care at Home (CCaH) programs. CCaH programs ensure the costs of caregiving and assisted living are covered, nicely filling in the gaps left by Medicare, private pay health insurance and long-term care insurance. They also release family members from the obligation to step in as caregiver or help financially.

Learn more about your CCaH options at http://sunhealthseniorliving.org/category/shah-blog-posts/.

If you’d like to learn more about Sun Health at Home, a continuing care at home program designed to handle long-term care needs of those who prefer to age in place, reserve your spot now at our free, no-obligation discovery seminar or call (623) 227- HOME (4663).  

Sun Health at Home is the first CCaH program in the southwestern United States, and the only one available in Arizona.

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