Today, a growing number of adult children are taking care of their aging parents with Alzheimer's. While most families cope well with the added responsibility, the primary caregivers, usually the women, suffer from stress and often neglect their own health.
Many adult children feel as though they can take care of parents, and they don’t realize the difficulties and the stresses that are involved. They also don’t understand how challenging it will become over time.
Experts say the numbers of adult children taking care of their parents will increase as people live longer. According to a 2011 study by MetLife Mature Market Institute, there are nearly 10 million children over the age of 50 who care for their parents. That figure has more than tripled over the past 15 years.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the demand for informal caregivers - family, friends and neighbors - is expected to grow by more than 20% in the next 15 years as baby boomers age.
As life expectancy increases, it will increase the responsibility of caregivers.
Trying to meet the needs of kids and the patient with Alzheimer's is pretty challenging for caregivers with families. The difficulty for families is in finding a compromise that allows Alzheimer’s patients to remain on their own like they want, yet making sure that they are receiving proper care.
Adult children should prepare a care plan for their elderly parents' when it becomes apparent that the parents are beginning to have difficulty taking care of them.
If adult children don't have a plan for how to deal with those challenges, they are going to end up in a crisis situation. If they're able, older adult parents should have some say in the plan before Alzheimer’s or dementia gets too far along.
For information on Alzheimer’s care in your area, contact Spring Arbor Living.