Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Old taking care of older

Kelly Greene, WSJ, June 14, 2011, says more people are taking care of older people—and doing so is affecting their own health.

Boy, do I know. My sister and I are in our sixties, Mom is 93. We have taken care of her needs, found her places to be cared for with no animals (we love them, she doesn’t) and have seen to her hair, nails, clothes, companionship 2-3 times a week for 16 years.

Oh, and when she takes a tumble, we sit all day and night in the ER. And when the phone rings, we say, “Please, not about Mom, not about Mom.”

We have several health issues each—she is mostly a memory case. Spry! Zippy! We limp around taking care of her.

Studies show that older caregivers (and you are still the caregiver, even if the person is in a nursing home or assisted care) are more likely to report depression and chronic disease.

The percentage of children taking care of parents has tripled, with 10 million people over 50 in this position.

This costs the younger person $308,000 in lost wages, pensions, and Social. This is even more for women (surprise—the ones most often doing this.)

Older caregivers are more likely to drink—like we can afford that! Sounds pretty good, though.

“You start taking years off your life,” one woman said, “when you start taking care of someone with dementia.”

And of course, your situation could get worse or you could develop dementia yourself. That thought is never far away. And of course, people are quick to adjust your attitude—well, your parents took care of you!

This just is what it is.

Be nice to your kids, is all I can say. Oh—I have one of those still around here, too—with a full set of issues, believe me.

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