September 8, 2011
You’ve not been the same since your dad got sick. In fact, you’re not feeling the best lately either. Last time you were at the doctor your blood pressure was up. And the stress of worrying about whether or not Dad is safe is keeping you awake at night and making it harder to focus at work.
According to a 2010 Home Instead Senior Care® network White Paper entitled Improving the Lives of Family Caregivers, 90 percent of family caregivers have experienced episodes of anxiousness or irritability.
This paper included a survey which, based on data collected from family caregivers on Caregiverstress.com℠, also revealed that caregiving is very demanding for 83 percent of family caregivers. An overwhelming 77 percent say that caregiving is taking a toll on their family lives. And 56 percent say caregiving is taking a toll on their jobs.
Caregiving is definitely tough on the working family caregiver like you. Nearly 12 percent of employees in a 2010 MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs reported caring for an older person. Generally, those employees reported poorer health and more chronic disease than did non-caregivers.
The MetLife study further found that 17 percent of female caregivers age 50 and older reported fair or poor health compared with just 9 percent of non-caregivers.
Your boss is likely paying a price, too. Consider the family and health issues that your co-workers may be struggling with as well. Findings of the Metlife study indicate that the average additional cost of a series of major health conditions (such as depression, hypertension and diabetes) reported by employees with eldercare responsibilities is 8 percent more than non-caregiving employees. That is potentially costing U.S. employers an extra estimated $13.4 billion per year.
So what’s the answer for your dad and you? Respite care and support may help. The 2010 Home Instead Senior Care network research has shown that the use of paid in-home non-medical care is associated with important personal and professional benefits for family caregivers.
Non-medical caregiving provides support for such services as meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errands and shopping. Those are all tasks that can help to take some of the load off you.
Caregivers who used paid in-home non-medical care for their seniors reported having better overall health than did their counterparts who did not make use of such care. In fact, according to this research, 78 percent of those who used paid in-home non-medical care for their seniors rated the overall quality of their health as “good” or “very good.”
Job issues improved as well. Of those who lost wages as a result of caregiving responsibilities, those caregivers using paid in-home non-medical care for an elderly loved one did almost 25 percent better in terms of maintaining their previous income levels than did other caregivers.
The research also reveals that family caregivers derive important personal and professional benefits when they supplement their senior caregiving with paid in-home non-medical care services. Among these are:
- Better personal health.
- Better quality of life.
- More help with seniors who make greater demands, particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
- Help staying in the workforce.
- Help reducing the financial sacrifices that caregiving often imposes.
- Help in delivering more care and better care to their seniors.
Family caregiving should not cost you your health and your job. It’s a price your Dad likely wouldn’t want you to pay.
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