As people live longer, it places increased pressure on other family members, especially adult children who couldn’t imagine turning a loved one away when they’re moving through their 80s and even well into their 90s. That creates a difficult challenge and circumstance for these other aging seniors, those moving into and through their 70s as they support an aging parent who is in their 90s, for example.
These challenges often become ignored or missed, but they pose significant health risks to both the senior who needs assistance and the one who is acting as a family caregiver. More Americans are providing some level of care and support to an aging parent or grandparent and when they take on this role in their Golden Years, it can transform what they once dreamed of being a time of relaxation, exploration, and possibly even travel into one of constant worry, endless effort, and increasing stress and anxiety.
According to the New York Times business blog, At 75, Taking Care of Mom, 99: ‘We Did Not Think She Would Live This Long’, written by Susan B. Garland:
“Ms. Faye and her mother are part of what many experts say is a growing phenomenon: Children in their 60s and 70s who are spending their retirement years caring for parents who are in their 90s and beyond.
Because of longer life spans, many adult children and their parents are now “aging together,” said Kathrin Boerner, an associate professor of gerontology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
“People in their late 60s and early 70s thought this would be a time of life when some of their responsibilities would drop off,” Dr. Boerner said. “Even though it may be a gift to still have your parents, it can be really rough.””
In-home care support services is one of most valuable assets these aging seniors can lean on to help them navigate a new retirement reality they never imagined would be possible. Even as aging family members continue to live longer, it can be a time to celebrate, spend more quality time together, but if these senior caregivers simply don’t recognize the true value in home care options, they could find themselves struggling and facing increased health risks of their own.
Frail elderly parents and grandparents don’t have to be turned away and adult children in their late 60s or 70s do not need to become primary and de facto caregivers when there are valuable resources in the form of home care agencies ready to step up and provide assistance.