Saturday, July 11, 2015

Caregiving and Aging: An Old Conversation Revisited

In many ways my caregiving story is that of  the typical family caregiver.  When my mother was diagnosed with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) in 2004, I was a 44 year old working full-time as a computer support technician for a multi-national company.  Two years later, at the age of 46,  I left my job to become my mother's full-time caregiver.  At the time that I resigned my job my mother was still ambulatory and the full effects of dementia were years away.  However we both understood that as her disease progressed, without the intervention of shunt surgery,  my mother's condition would mirror those of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.  So my goal was to be proactive and move my mother and myself into a residential situation that would allow me to provide her with the best possible care as her illness progressed.  In my case, that never happened.

In a recent article for Forbes, Howard Gleckman provided a new snapshot of America's caregivers. "The typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who is assisting a parent or in-law and working at a paid job. She reports spending an average of about 24 hours-a-week providing personal assistance such as bathing or dressing or helping with activities such as shopping or rides. Almost six in 10 say they perform nursing or other complex care tasks, such as giving oral medicines or injections, wound care, or operating medical equipment."

Click on the link below to read the full article:

The White House Conference on Aging will take place on Monday, July 13, 10:00am to 5pm EST. Aging is a topic that affects us all but especially family caregivers.   "Aging" isn't just about being old, it's about the journey that we all take to get there.  Very healthy people still get older. Disabled children get older.  Wounded warriors get older.  Parents get older.  And the people who care for all of the aforementioned get older too.  

I created a virtual watch party to invite you, the 44 million caregivers in the US and millions others in North America to join together and watch, tweet and talk about this important event. Let’s show the world our numbers. Click on the link below to learn more.

I hope that you will take a moment and listen to the discussions and participate via Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtags ‪#‎WHCOA‬ as well as ‪#‎Caregiver‬.  And to provide a clear snapshot you can also feel free to use hashtags like #BlackCaregivers #LatinaCaregivers #MillenialCaregivers #SeniorCaregivers or any variation that reflects your demographic.

As Chris Farrell wrote in his article for Next Avenue, "aging populations are good for the old and the young". Farrell wrote: "You can’t escape talk of rising intergenerational conflict between aging boomers and young Millennials.

Among the more powerful beliefs in Washington, D.C., is that thanks to Social Security and other old-age programs, boomers will absorb more scarce economic and government resources, starving programs that benefit the young. The tug-of-war extends deep into the workplace, too. With many (though not all) boomers holding onto their jobs, some Millennials perceive their path into meaningful work and career advancement blocked.

A Phony Intergenerational War?

And with the world rapidly aging, the generational blame game has gone global, heating up particularly in countries with public benefits for retirees and plenty of unemployed and underemployed youth. “The older generations have eaten the future of the younger ones,” economist and former Italian Prime Minister Giulano Amato fretted in Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, in 2011.

Scary, isn’t it? Actually, not really.

Intergenerational warfare is a phony war."

I totally agree

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