Jul 11
2012

 

Elder Care Statistics Pie Chart

New elder care statisics are included in the “American Time Use Survey.”

Since 2003 the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been tracking — via interviews with 12,500 individuals — how Americans spend their days. The result is called the “American Time Use Survey.”  Up until 2011, the tasks involving elder care were not included in the survey – a fact that is surprising since the number of unpaid elder care providers has grown steadily during the last several years.

For the purpose of the report, an elder care provider is someone providing unpaid care to a person over the age of 65 who needs help due to a condition relating to the aging process.  And elder care can involve anything from meal preparation, assistance with grooming, transportation, companionship, or simply being available to provide assistance when needed.

The American Time Use Survey provides some interesting statistics relating to the 39.8 million unpaid elder care providers in the United States. For example:

  • Fifty-six percent of those caring for the elderly are women.
  • Sixty-nine percent are caring for only one elderly person.
  • Forty-two percent provide care for a parent.
  • Twenty-three percent are also providing care for 1 or more children under the age of 18 (considered the Sandwich Generation)

The report does include a statistic that is puzzling. Only four percent of the caregivers interviewed were caring for a spouse or unmarried partner compared to the forty-two percent caring for a parent and the nineteen percent caring for a grandparent. What’s missing from this picture? Continue reading »

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Dec 21
2011

Caregiver Stressed

By Nadine Freedman

For many late-boomer and Gen X women, particularly those who delayed parenthood until their mid-thirties or early forties, caring for an elderly parent coincides with some of the most grueling years of motherhood.

In her article, “The Bitch Is Back,” published in the October 2011 edition of The Atlantic, Sandra Tsing Loh paints a vivid picture of the price women pay for falling into the trap of “over-caring” during the perimenopausal and menopausal years. She cite Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book, “The Wisdom of Menopause” when explaining the difference between care and over-care:

 “Learn the difference between care and over-care. True care of others, from a place of unconditional love, enhances our health. That’s one reason why volunteering and community service feel good and are associated with improved health. Over-care and burnout result from not including ourselves on the list of people who require care. The way to tell the difference between the two is to be aware of how caring for another makes you feel. You must also be 100 percent honest about what you’re getting out of excessive caregiving.”

Few women have it all figured out – balancing the care of others with their own self-care. We often take on too much, whether out of a sense of obligation or an unwillingness to admit that we just can’t do it all. Eventually though, it does take a toll…more quickly for some than for others. Continue reading »

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Sep 13
2011

Medication reminder for elderly patientBy Nadine Freedman

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Apr 22
2011

By Nadine Freedman

America’s getting older, and for millions of people in the younger generations, that’s a huge challenge. I know, because I’m one of them.

More than one out of every eight Americans between the ages of 40 – 60 is a caregiver to an aging parent while raising a child. Between seven to 10 million adults care for aging parents from a distance. If you’re in that position, you know it doesn’t matter whether you’re across town or 1,000 miles away; it’s difficult and exhausting to play both roles. Continue reading »

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Apr 07
2011

by Nadine Freedman

Those of us who are watching our parents’ journey through the aging process are sometimes surprised at how some age more rapidly than others and wonder how we can keep the aches and pains at bay. Studies on aging show that genetics contribute only about one third to the equation of how well a person ages. The good news is that the balance of the equation is within your control. Adapting your daily routine and general outlook on life can not only add years to your life but life to your years. Continue reading »

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Mar 31
2011

by Nadine Freedman

We’ve all done it. We’ve rolled our eyes, tapped our fingers, maybe even sighed out loud when an elderly person crosses the street in front of our car or moves a little too slowly through the checkout line in the grocery store. In the hustle of our daily life, it’s easy to forget that most elderly people experience loss of mobility, flexibility and impaired vision to some degree.

In many cases the effects of aging are radically limiting. Imagine not being able to easily pick up something you dropped on the floor or reach for something overhead. If you can’t fathom this scenario, then there’s an invention that could give you some perspective. Continue reading »

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Mar 17
2011

Early on-set Alzheimer's and memory loss

by Nadine Freedman

Early-onset Alzheimer’s is a term that strikes fear into the hearts and minds of the Sandwich Generation. Picture this scenario: you are a 46-year-old woman with three small children, a full-time career and a husband who travels 15 days out of 30 for his job. Your 78-year-old mother has just completed testing and has Stage 3 Alzheimer’s. Your 81-year-old father is cognitively healthy but frail after completing successful treatment for colon cancer. Now imagine this woman’s horror when her own husband starts to show signs of cognitive impairment. Think this can’t happen to you? According to recent reports, between 200,000 and 500,000 Americans are living with early onset Alzheimer’s. Continue reading »

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Mar 03
2011

Sandwich Generation by Nadine Freedman

In the documentary film, “Sandwich Generation”, filmmaker Julie Winokur and her photojournalist husband, Ed Kashi, detail the journey wherein they uproot their family and business. Together, they move 3000 miles to live with Julie’s 83 year old father, Herbie Winokur, who suffers from dementia. This scenario isn’t something that most of us like to think about— much less plan for. Still, this kind of compromise is often necessary for those who are trying to simultaneously balance all the needs of their family. Continue reading »

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