October 1, 2014
The world of caregiving and elder care is always changing with each new generation. If you’re a caregiver yourself or have an aging loved one, you might be wondering how other people like you are feeling about the current state of elder care in the U.S.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research recently released their research from a survey that sought to ask these very questions. Specifically, their study aimed to gauge Americans’ views on aging and caregiving, as well as provide suggestions for how to improve long-term elder care. The findings were quite interesting and dynamic.
To start, the study showed that the majority of subjects had experience with long-term care. A full 60 percent of Americans age 40 and over have experience receiving or providing long-term care. Furthermore, 90 percent of the people in this group have provided help to family members at some point, with 17 percent both receiving care and caring for others.
Often when people hear the term “caregiving”, they think of senior care. Interestingly enough, the most common form of elder care is family caregiving, as children frequently take care of aging parents. Family caregiving was utilized at some point by 83 percent of individuals who also have experience with assisted living.
On a related note, many respondents in the study didn’t realize the relative affordability of assisted living. Respondents in each group overestimated the price of assisted living facilities. In fact, 43 percent of individuals overestimated these costs by more than $500.
Considering that caregiving and/or elder care has affected a large portion of the U.S. population, how do these individuals regard their experiences?
Most survey respondents said that their experience with caregiving was favorable overall. Over 70 percent of people stated that caring for a loved one was a positive, valuable life experience. Most respondents also said that the experience had strengthened their relationship with the person receiving care.
However, many caregivers know that although caring for a loved one can be incredibly rewarding, it can also take a toll on you. The AARP recommends preparing for the caregiving process before a loved one needs help. This will help save you some stress and create an environment that allows both you and your loved one to have a more positive experience. If you’re caring for a special person in your life, explore all your care options together and decide what the best course of action is for your family.