Give Me a Break - 24/7 Caregiving
Two weeks ago I had the honor of meeting with Florida’s senior U.S. Senator and former astronaut Bill Nelson in his Capitol HIll office. My visit was part of the #AARP Lobby Day to talk about Caregiving and Social Security legislation. Senator Nelson chairs the Senate Special Commission on Aging.
I told Senator Nelson that 40% of all Alzheimer’s caregivers die before the person for whom they care according at a 2002 Stanford University study. He asked me to repeat it. He was speechless. I wanted to continue to tell him an Alzheimer’s caring journey can last ten to fifteen years and that the rates of mental and physical illness among these selfless caregivers is 63% higher than non caregivers. But I didn’t. The 40% statistic had such a profound impact on this well informed Senator who has spent the last fifteen years advocating for senior adults.
Round the clock caregiving is the reality for many caregiver spouses and family members today. Some cultures treat caregiving as a family obligation not to be discussed outside the confines of the family home. Family traditions and religious beliefs anchor our value systems and guide our daily behavior. However, the demands on today’s caregivers are overwhelming and last longer than any of the previous generations. The negative financial impact of long term caregiving are the function of the many economic and policy changes of the past five decades.
Caregivers have a reputation for neglecting their own health during the caregiving journey. So today, I encourage you to say “Give Me A Break.” Please register with your local Aging and Disability Resource Center and County Aging Department for Respite Care. Respite care gives caregivers a safe place for their loved one to socialize and engage in group activities. Respite care enables caregivers to attend to their own needs for health care, rest, exercise to name only a few of the aspects of life a caregiver neglects during the care journey.
“Give Me A Break” is healthy.
REUNIONCare is here to help caregivers manage and engage the entire care team. We are here for you.