Important statistics about aging
Most of us eventually have to deal with our parents getting older. For families with growing concerns about an elderly family member’s aging, the second-generation adult children are often the first line of defense.
The role reversal from daughter or son to caregiver can bring up all sorts of questions on how to go about caring for aging parents the “correct way.” If you’re like many of the adult children of our in-home senior care clients at Home Helpers, your first instinct is to try to do it all on your own. It’s easy to feel obliged to be the sole caregiver for our parents because they took care of us, but unfortunately this often leads to tensions in the family. As the care needs of the older parent expand, the younger family members can lose their sense of control over the situation, and resentment, guilt and exhaustion take its place.
At Home Helpers, one of our primary tasks is to restore your freedom to choose the life you —both the family caregiver and the care receiver— want to live.
Here are 5 important statistics about aging for you to consider. They could even change your life.
If you’re looking for some facts to help you navigate your own care situation, read on! While no situation is the same, there are some basic facts that can help guide you and your family in the process of balancing care needs across siblings, spouses, friends and hired help.
1 in 5 discharged Medicare patients return to the hospital within just 30 days
Nearly one in five Medicare patients discharged from a hospital—approximately 2.6 million seniors—is readmitted within 30 days, at a cost of over $26 billion every year. (HFWCNY)
After an elderly loved one’s stay in the hospital, a family will usually shout with glee that the patient can (“finally!”) come home. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon that the patient will have to return in a short period of time. I like to share this fact because even though it is less than uplifting, the knowledge can prepare you to be even more conscientious with your loved one’s care in the month or so after a hospitalization.
$12 billion is spent on preventable readmissions each year
An estimated $12 billion was spent on readmissions that could have been prevented. (N4A)
This is part two from the above stat: Nearly half of hospital readmissions are deemed “preventable”—meaning that with proper care they could have been avoided.
While most seniors say they’re satisfied with the care they receive at the hospital or doctor’s office, pieces may be missing from their care plan. In-home senior caregivers fill in the gaps and provide the extra support your loved ones need as they grow older, and are often a key component of a hospital discharge plan.
More than 2 in 5 seniors need assistance to get through the day
Approximately 41% of adults age 65 and over have limitations in activities of daily living (e.g., eating, bathing, dressing) and instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., household chores, shopping, meal preparation). (MetLife)
As loved ones get older, be aware of the chance that they will develop needs they cannot fill on their own. The key is to plan ahead, so that if these needs continue to grow, you are prepared with a solution.
When a loved one is at risk for falls, or has trouble getting dressed in the morning, it’s natural to want to be the one who helps. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to be with him or her every moment of every day. Taking care of and providing for yourself and your other family members is just as essential. At some point, more help may be needed. Have a discussion with your family early on to decide which care options work best for you.
Caregiving takes a toll
Serving as a caregiver may exact a heavy toll—emotionally, physically and financially—[on] the person assuming this role. (N4A)
When you start to take on care tasks, be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
The constant struggle of juggling caregiving, family, and work life results in stress. Many family caregivers dedicate a large portion of their time to caregiving, which can cause everything from financial worries to marriage tension. It’s important to strike a balance.
90% of seniors want to live at home
Nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 indicate they want to stay in their home as long as possible, and four of five in that age bracket believe their current home is where they will always live. (AARP)
As you plan for your aging loved ones’ golden years, it’s important to talk to them about what they want. Oftentimes, adult children have a notion that they need to make these decisions for their elderly parents, but it’s crucial to involve them in the process, even if they aren’t as sharp or quick as they used to be.
Most seniors prefer to live at home for as long as possible, but be sure to discuss this with them, and be up front about your ability to provide care for them at home.
The question becomes, “How do I balance my own life with this new caregiving life?” The answer is to find help. Find a friend or a trained caregiver who can come by a few hours a week to let you go home and make dinner for your own kids, or have someone come in a few times a week so that you can be free to just be a daughter or a son again.
At Home Helpers, we are able to give respite to family caregivers so that they can once again focus at work and spend quality time with their spouse, their own kids, and other loved ones. An in-home senior care agency is a friendly and affordable option when you need professional care for a loved one.