South Florida Hospital News
Monday August 10, 2020
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June 2014 - Volume 10 - Issue 12
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http://dannagracey.com/

Who Is Going to Provide the "Care" in Eldercare?

Today, this country’s 76.4 million Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are impacting our society in ways like no group has ever before. When comparing them to preceding and succeeding age cohorts, an increased demand for long-term services and support becomes painfully obvious. This anticipation has surfaced already in the changes taking place in the public and private sectors. Governmental regulations are changing, new services are being introduced and medical professionals are changing the way they do business. *
 
The aging of this particular population already has had a significant effect on American families. Baby Boomers are working later in life. In the past, when a parent became ill, the caregiving responsibility usually was assumed by the spouse or older child who stayed at home. Today, when their loved one is frail or ill if one can afford to, family members hire the needed professional caregiving services for their loved one. However, many  are forced into the role of being this caregiver themselves and juggling their employment responsibilities along with their personal commitments.
 
The more difficult nursing tasks traditionally have been provided in hospitals and nursing homes and by home care providers, but increasingly, family members are called on to perform these tasks with little training or professional support. As health care shifts from institutional to home-based care, the burdens on family caregivers will likely increase without adequate supportive services for caregiving families.
 
A recent survey I conducted for Hospice by the Sea’s Aloesea Caregiver Program reports that companies are surprised when learning the high percentage of employees that are working and caring for a seriously ill loved one. In this instance, 52% of those completing the survey reported being a caregiver in the past year. Very few caregivers claim they have obtained additional assistance from professional caregiving individuals or agencies.  They say that their role has expanded from coordinating and providing personal care and household chores to include medical or nursing tasks such as wound care and administering injections. These tasks are all very time-intensive.
 
After analyzing the results, it was found that in a typical week, 57% of those surveyed said they were providing up to 7 hours per week of care, 21% 8-14 hours, and 21% 15 or more hours per week. The time dedicated may be during the work day, time immediately after work, or personal time on the weekend, allowing them little time for themselves – working a part-time job on top of their formal employment. The nine employers in Broward and Palm Beach counties that we worked with agreed that companies and organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the issue of working caregivers and interested in finding ways to support them in the workplace.
 
A report commissioned by AARP Public Policy Institute, The Aging of the Baby Boomers and Growing Care Gap: A Look at the Future Declines in the Availability of Family Caregivers, projects that as the Baby Boomers continue to age during the next few decades, the availability of potential caregivers will diminish, creating a number of challenges.
- The period from 1990 to 2010 was marked by Boomers aging into the prime caregiving years, with the result that the caregiver ratio was high and increasing.
- The period from 2010 to 2030 will be a period of transition as Boomers age into old age and the caregiver ratio declines—especially when the oldest Boomers begin to reach age 80 in the 2020s.
- The period from 2030 to 2050 will include all remaining Boomers aging into the high-risk years of 80-plus.**
 
Unfortunately, we have paid too little attention to the role that Baby Boomers have played and are still playing as caregivers. The question now becomes who will be taking care of them when they assume the role of the aging parent? 
For a copy of “Caring for the Caregiver” containing helpful information and tips, contact Marla Buettner at (561) 227-5159.
 
Dr. Stefanie Schwartz is the Senior Director of Palliative-AIM Operations for TrustBridge. Today, Hospice by the Sea, Inc. has joined the TrustBridge family of companies. From home health care to hospice, and caregiver support, TrustBridge offers support for families facing any stage of illness, twenty-four hours a day.
 
Sources:
* Caregiver.org
** D. Redfoot, L. Feinberg and A. Houser, The Aging of the Baby Boomers and Growing Care Gap: A Look at the Future Declines in the Availability of Family Caregivers, Washington, DC., AARP Public Policy Institute, August 2013
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