Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Caregiving Strains Marriage and Money

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Get Help with Caregiving Stress

Get Help with Caregiving Stress

Caregiving is taking its toll on marriages, draining  bank accounts and increasing sibling squabbles as one-in-two baby boomers face taking care of an aging parent.  the poor economy and fear of job loss add to caregiving stress.

 

 According to new research from Caring.com, eighty percent (80%) of baby boomers caring for an aging parent say that it has put a strain on their marriage.   “The time spent caring for an aging parent can take a serious toll on the caregiver’s relationship with their spouse,” said Andy Cohen, COO of Caring.com, a website for caregivers (www.caring.com).  “Time that is traditionally spent with one another once the kids have left home is becoming more and more time when children start to play the role of caregiver to an aging parent.”

 

The financial strain is increasing, as caregivers find themselves without jobs, or working more to make sure they keep the job they have.  The emotional strain on the caregiver and family relationships is increasingly evident. There has been an increase of 62% in the numbers of parents age 65 and older living with their adult children, according to the Census Bureau.

 

“We find more people seeking professional help with managing care of an aging parent.  Sibling disagreements are increasing about not only what the right care is but who is going to shoulder the burden of care, said Dr. Dan Tobin, CEO of Your Support Nurse, (www.yoursupportnurse.com).  “We help them identify local care solutions and work together as a family to solve their problems.”

 

Unfortunately, technologies that can help older persons age at home are often overlooked or undiscovered.  Laurie Orlov, Founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch (www.ageinplacetech.com), a research firm, cites a Clarity 2007 study in which 51% of baby boomers believe that technology can help their parents, but only 14% have looked for any – perhaps because marketers have yet to clearly target them.

 

Can baby boomers afford to pay to help parents age in place? “According to research from AARP, boomer caregivers do express willingness to pay less than $50/month for technologies to assist in their parents’ care,” Orlov says, “But interestingly, they typically pay more than $300/month for tech-related services for themselves.

 

Orlov recommends that instead of waiting until someone falls in their home or is admitted to the hospital for failing to take medication — boomers should act now. PERS (personal emergency response system) devices, medication reminders, and sensor-based home monitoring tech — all can make a huge difference.

A care manager can be a big help if you are in the midst of a caregiver meltdown or the tension between siblings about the ‘right course” is mounting.  As a long-distance caregiver, I found that a professional care manager could step in and help us see past the emotions to the needs.  It also brought an objective voice to sibling disagreements over the right next step. They  knew the local area (my parents were in Arizona where I had never lived and new nothing about local resources).  And, maybe most importantly, they can get you to your options more quickly — reducing stress and strain on you and your family.

If you are doing it yourself,  www.eldercarelocator.org can help you identify options. A Council on Aging in your area may be able to provide guidance and resources.   A professional care manager can help you manage the situation (for a fee which is usually $300-$500 for  a few hours of consultation and recommendations.) www.yoursupportnurse.com is a national service that provides local nurses –especially helpful for long-distance caregivers.  You can also find more about care managers at their professional association  www.caremanager.org.

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Written by Laura Rossman

February 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

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