Brenda Lyle – Hometown News
Q: What is a family caregiver?
A: Family caregivers are sons, daughters and spouses, who find themselves the nurses, counselors and pharmacists to their parent or spouse. Most family caregivers are thrust into the situation unexpectedly. While 12 states provide compensation for family caregivers, most are unpaid.
Caregiving by the numbers
According to 2020 statistics from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, women comprise 61% of the 53 million U.S. family caregivers. 45% report that their role has impacted them financially and 21% report a subsequent decline in their own health.
Caregiving can exact a physical, mental and financial toll. Family members may find themselves making all the decisions and performing tasks like bathing, meal preparation and medication management for their parent or spouse. These role changes can strain the family dynamic and relationships, leading to “caregiver burnout” (which can come on rapidly). Burnout may exacerbate the stress of caregiving, creating a cycle of fatigue, depression and social isolation.
Who can help?
Families may seek out a paid caregiver, if their financial situation allows. Private duty care in Central Florida costs an average of $25/hr. Adult daycare averages $65/day. Medicaid assistance is possible — but backlogs mean that immediate financial help is unlikely. Central Florida agencies such as Share the Care, Seniors First and Aging Matters can help ease the caregiving burden, offering respite care, support groups, low-cost adult daycare and other programs. Orlando’s Senior Resource Alliance serves Brevard, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties as a point of contact for the many governmental services and programs.
The number of people over age 65 in the U.S. is projected to double by 2060. American families are having fewer children, which means fewer family caregivers in the years ahead. Caregiving costs will likely continue to rise, making it imperative for families to plan NOW –for care as they age. One Senior Place can point you toward resources for creating a long-term caregiving plan.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.