Are you ready to take care of your parents?
As working Americans and their parents grow older and live longer, more adult children will take on caregiving responsibilities. But are they prepared for the role?
No, say Americans in a recent survey by Opinion Research Corporation. People surveyed said they are not prepared to handle health insurance matters for an adult family member, or assist with medications. They worry about selling the home of a loved one, moving the person to assisted living centers, and setting up wills and trusts. Only a third of Americans say they have talked with family members and friends about providing care to them in the future.
Research links the stress of caregiving with an increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders, diminished immune responses, slower wound healing, and a greater incidence of hospitalizations –that’s among the caregivers.
“Today, an estimated 46 million Americans are providing uncompensated care for an adult family member or loved one who is chronically ill or disabled, often sacrificing career advancement, personal pleasures and their own health and well-being out of a combined sense of love and duty,” said US Surgeon General Richard Carmona. “Family caregivers are an essential component of the health care system and should be considered as such.”
Dr. Carmona helped launch The Caregiver Initiative, a national campaign designed to call attention to the vital role that family caregivers now play, to help them maintain their own health and well-being while they care for others, and to prepare all Americans to better recognize and accept the responsibilities of caregiving that may well affect them personally as our society ages.
The Caregiver Initiative features an online resource and virtual community designed specifically for caregivers at www.strengthforcaring.com.
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