This is the moment we are in: Millions of us are caregivers, and caring for our aging parents. More than one out of every eight Americans is over the age of 65, and that number will more than double by 2050. Seventy percent of older Americans will need long-term care at some point in their lives. We need to prepare for and embrace who we are becoming as a nation, and find a way to ensure we can all access quality, dignified, and affordable care when we need it.
Our stories are powerful, and sharing them is a critical part of our work. That’s why we invited caregivers and bloggers to join us in our second #Blog4Care blog carnival, on caregiving for aging parents. Together, we can begin to create the solutions that will allow all of us to receive the care we need.
“While in no way do I intend to downplay the issues confronted by the elderly and their caregivers, I strongly believe the last decade of my mother’s life taught me what matters. Amid difficulties and struggle, our bonds became stronger and deeper.“
“For me, taking care of a mother with Alzheimer’s sharpened my perspective about what is important in my own life.”
“I was the baby of the family and now my role had changed. I fought hard to find the inner strength to be strong when my father was weak. I brought life and beauty to him when he couldn’t see it for himself. I share stories along the way, life lessons, and the heroes I would never have met.”
“This essay written recently is about emotional resiliency which is such an important quality to have and cultivate as a caregiver.”
“It is undeniably difficult caring for a loved one with dementia. But, the reward for me is that it allows me to “give back.” And, even if my Dad lives to be 100, I’ll never be able to return all the love he’s given me.”
“Having honest and open conversations are exactly what we need to bring aging out of the shadows. We can’t all continue to bear these burdens alone.In my own family, we started to convene family meetings where my brother, sister and I talk to my mom and dad about the kind of care they want. It’s not easy, but talking about it has made it easier.And while we may not have a guidebook, we’re working toward filling our own storybook.”
“My mom is a hero in my eyes—but no one should have to go to those lengths to make sure that our loved ones receive the care they need.When people cite statistics like the average caregiver spends 20 hours a week on caregiving, it’s true, but what that number doesn’t capture is the stress, the worry, and, let’s be honest, the financial burden of caring for someone you love.”
“With my parents officially AARP status, I view them differently as their health needs become more significant. I worry about them. I worry if I do enough to care for them. I live in Texas. They live in Tennessee. It gets hard and very real questions come up about care-giving and who will help as my parents get older.”
“Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is very much like the quote from Forest Gump, “…it’s like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get”. You get mood swings, the eating challenges, the bathing challenges, and for some, the wandering challenges (thank I didn’t), but you also get times when funny things are said, you learn how to grocery shop quickly, and to think quickly on your feet.”
Tips and Advice for Caregivers
Brenda Avadian speaks about how caregivers should take a Five-Minute Respite.