The Twenty First Century Waltons Family
Who remembers the Waltons television show of the 1970’s? The show depicts a multi generational family living in the mountains of Virginia during the Great Depression. Can you recall how many family members lived in the house? I recommend recalling the closing scene where each family member wishes each of the others good night. By my count, the Waltons had 13 family members with others coming for visits throughout the ten year run of the series.
The Walton’s Sequel Life was hard back in the depression but I wonder if the issues facing families today mirror the issues we watched play out on the Waltons. Consider the parallels between these times, multi-generational families are on the rise. According to the Pew Research Center 18% ofAmericans now live in multigenerational households in 2012, double the rate of 1980 (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/07/17/in-post-recession-era-young-adults-drive-continuing-rise-in-multi-generational-living/ ). Like the Waltons, today’s multigenerational families share responsibilities for raising children, caring the senior members, cooking, cleaning, education and all the other daily tasks of our lives often due to financial issues.
Multigenerational Families Today Unlike the Depression era Waltons, the Great Recession era multigenerational families rarely intended to live under the same roof. Many of today’s young adults return home to save money many times caused by un or underemployment. LIkewise grandparents relocate into the home of adult children due to declining health, for caregiver services, to stretch the dollars of their pension or at the request of other family members to help out with childcare and other expenses of raising a family.
Caregiving can be Overwhelming Television shows cannot tell the true heart wrenching stories of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancers and and other terminal conditions that require round the clock personal care. The lack of respite care to relieve family members in times of physical and mental exhaustion or crisis. Family caregivers are often raising children and caring for parents at the same time. The stress of caregiving often leads to the compromised health of giver in fact 30% of caregivers die before the one for whom they care in their labor of love.
I Heart Caregivers Family caregivers often feel isolated, overwhelmed by the demands they face. Please tell us your story. Make your voice heard to the policy makers and politicians by joining the I Heart Caregiver campaign. Please join the AARP campaign aarp.org/iheartcaregivers to share your photos and story:
- Why did you start caring for your loved one?
- How much time do you devote to caring for your loved one?
- What tasks do you perform to help?
- What would help you as a caregiver?
- What’s the best part of your experience? Most challenging?
- Any tips for other family caregivers?
We at REUNIONCare support and endorse the AARP I Heart Caregiver campaign. We are changing the way we care for each other by building a personalized Circle of Care around those we love. Please join in the campaign and tell you story.