AS TIME GOES BY
Allow me to repeat myself. The good news is that we are all living longer. The bad news is that we are all living longer.
There is a growing trend in our country of seniors caring for seniors. According to an AARP public policy institute study, typically it is a woman caring for her husband or another adult relative, usually a parent. In about 7% of caregivers are 75 years or older. Approximately 3,000,000 seniors spend about 34 hours a week helping other seniors with bathing, dressing, preparing meals, transportation and using the toilet. And it is tough, for older caregivers have to deal with their own health issues, isolation as their friends die and performing physical tasks can put a strain on their aging bodies.
According to an article written by Susan B. Garland from Kipplinger, wives will sacrifice their own health to keep their husbands at home and because they put off their own care they get sicker and die earlier than non-caregivers. Changing colostomy bags, giving injections, and performing other nursing tasks can be daunting when you are older and not getting enough sleep. I can relate for my brother and I took turns staying at my mother’s house overnight in an attempt to keep her out of a long-term care facility. This arrangement lasted about 45 days for neither one of us were getting any sleep from laying on the living room couch listening for any sound coming from her bedroom.
But older caregivers can find help by contacting the local area agency on aging to check out discounted services in their community. It may also be possible to qualify for Medicaid homebound care services. And it is most important to have social networks for older caregivers tend to be more isolated, thus more depressed than younger caregivers. Perhaps asking a friend or another family member to take over for a few hours can provide a respite the caregiver needs. It is most difficult to have to go it alone.
“Time is the wisest counselor of all.”