Everything You Need to Know About Caregiving

Caring for a spouse or parent with health issues, also known as caregiving, is hard.

For many, caring for an aging parent or spouse is one of the most challenging things they’ve ever done. At Friendship at Home, we believe no one should have to watch a loved one suffer or put their life on hold while they care for an aging family member.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost 70 percent of adults older than 65 will need some form of long-term care as they age. Without a plan in place to manage that care, the burden often falls on loved ones.

Who is a Caregiver?

A caregiver is anyone like a spouse, family member or neighbor who assists an aging adult in daily activities and medical tasks. Almost half help a parent, and 15 percent help a non-relative. The average age of a long-term caregiver is between 50 and 64.

There are currently an estimated 34.5 million caregivers in the United States who provide unpaid care for an adult older than 50, and the majority often offer long-term care for at least four years. Only 30 percent of caregivers provide care for less than a year, and a quarter of them will provide care for more than five years.

What do Caregivers do?

Caregivers provide a variety of services and assistance to aging adults so they can carry out their daily activities. About 46 percent perform medical and nursing tasks in addition to tasks like personal hygiene, dressing, medications, shopping and transportation.

On average caregivers spend:

— 13 days each month on helping with shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation and medication

— 6 days per month on feeding, clothing, grooming, exercise and bathroom assistance

— 13 hours per month researching care services or information on disease, coordinating physician visits or managing financial matters

How does caregiving affect the caregiver?

The demands of long-term caregiving are often associated with adverse health effects. Research has shown a strong link between caregiving and deterioration of physical and emotional health.

Physical Health

Caregiving can be physically demanding and require the caregiver to redirect time that would be spent managing their own health. Seventeen percent of caregivers report it has negatively impacted their health. Over the course of their time, those reporting poor health increases by 5 percent on average, and those caring for a spouse are most likely to report poor health.

Emotional Health

Caring for a loved one through a prolonged illness can be extremely emotionally taxing. Regardless of employment status, unpaid caregivers report that positive activities in their respective daily lives are reduced by 27 percent as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. Over half of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression.

Can I hire a caregiver?

While many caregivers are informal and voluntary, there are a variety of paid services that provide formal caregiving. For many, a formal caregiver is an ideal solution for an aging parent or spouse because it allows them to continue building a relationship with their loved one without sacrificing their mental or emotional health.

However, the financial aspect of formal long-term care is often expensive. The average cost of long-term, in-home care is $46,332 per year, meaning it can put retirees or their families in stressful situations despite responsible financial planning.

How can I get the best of both worlds?

Continuing care at home programs like Friendship at Home allows retirees to grow older knowing they have quality long-term care available when and if they need it. Being a member of Friendship at Home allows you to age in place without worrying about affording long-term care. The program acts as an insurance program, making the cost more affordable than hiring a formal-long term caregiver.

Whether you need short-term care for an injury or long-term care for a persisting ailment, Friendship at home offers the individualized help you need in the comfort of your home.

Friendship at Home’s team of care coordinators help caregivers provide a single point of contact to coordinate in-home caregiving. From cleaning help, personalized homecare, companionship and more, our care coordinators arrange services when you meet eligibility to deliver the care you need without the burden of having to organize it yourself.

To learn more about our services, call 614-734-2167. We’ll help you, your parents or your spouse age in the comfort of your home while knowing you have an affordable, long-term care solution whenever you need it.