One in six American adults—more than 40 million people—are family caregivers. Most provide unpaid senior care services—shopping, cooking, transportation, housework, bathing and dressing—for adults age 65 and over.
The older adults receiving care may feel loved and comforted, but what does it mean for caregivers? While caregiving is a unifying experience for some families, the increased responsibility comes at a high cost for many people and can result in self-neglect.
To offer support and information to families confronted with caregiving challenges, November is designated as National Family Caregivers Month.
Families provide senior care services often at great personal cost
Caregivers spend an average of 77 hours per month on senior care services, and half do it while employed, mostly full time. This leaves little personal time for their own interests and pleasures. It can lead to emotional stress, family conflicts, health issues, tense living arrangements and financial challenges. Caregiving can even affect their retirement funds and children’s college accounts, as most pay some care-related expenses out of their own savings.
A survey by Caring.com, a leading resource for caregiving families, shows that stress is particularly high for families whose aging parents live with them. Only 23 percent were satisfied with their situation, while 44 percent were unhappy. Caregivers with older family members living in senior care facilities were most at ease, mainly because they didn’t have to worry about the safety or health of their loved ones.
Country Meadows’ senior care services lighten burdens of family caregivers
At Country Meadows Retirement Communities, we understand the needs and challenges of caregiving families. We have prepared a guide just for them, “Finding Your Way to Caring for a Loved One and You.” Download the guide here or pick it up at any of our 11 retirement communities.
In our guide, we suggest resources that have helped many families in their journey: websites, blog posts, podcasts, care calendars, TEDx Talks and books. The guide assists caregivers in seeking outside support, taking time for self-care, building a support network, involving siblings and managing the demands of employment.
Many family caregivers benefit from joining a support group. They can learn from others with similar challenges and take solace in knowing they’re not alone. Contact Country Meadows—we have support groups that can help. Our campuses also have copies of recommended books on caregiving on loan. Contact us if you would like to borrow any for them for as long as you like.
In addition, Country Meadows has prepared a tip sheet for families, “Caring for the Caregiver: YOU.” The sheet of 10 suggestions focuses on how family members can adjust to their new roles.
If you and your aging family member could benefit from the professional senior care services of a retirement community in Pennsylvania or Maryland, we invite you to contact us to arrange a visit. We take pride in offering the most fulfilling senior living experience in these two states.
Country Meadows has 10 retirement homes in areas of Pennsylvania—York South, York West, Hershey, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Mechanicsburg and Pittsburgh—as well as one in Frederick, Maryland.