When David Bowen's father fell taking out the trash in 2016, it set in motion a series of health challenges the family is still battling together. Bowen, 62, hired a part-time professional caregiver to assist his father along with his mother, who was battling Alzheimer's, but he found himself serving as a caregiver much of the time, too.
"I'd go by [their home] after work three days a week; we called it the '40-mile triangle' — 40 miles to work, 40 miles to their house, then 40 miles back home," Bowen said. "I'd stop and get dinner on the way, sit and visit, redress dad's wounds and humor mom, then head for home."
Caregivers are the unsung heroes of the health care system. The responsibility can mean increased stress and anxiety, which can affect family dynamics, nutrition habits, physical fitness and overall well-being. Many people take unpaid leave from their jobs, reduce work hours, change careers or quit altogether to care for an aging loved one.
The 2018 Northwestern Mutual C.A.R.E. Study revealed that two of three caregivers reduce their living expenses to pay for the medical and practical needs of their loved ones, yet nearly half of future caregivers said they have made no financial plans to prepare.
While this can be challenging, caregivers take immense pride in this important role, and most wouldn't trade the opportunity. In fact, a recent Merrill Lynch-Age Wave study found that 91 percent of caregivers feel grateful to care for someone and 77 percent would do it again.
Regardless of what leads someone to assume the role of caregiver, and whether they do so willingly, out of a sense of obligation or both, one thing is certain: Caregivers need and deserve support as they navigate a demanding, emotional and critical responsibility. The good news is there are resources and services that can help make life as a caregiver a bit easier.
Home care services can also help. Caregivers from a home care agency can supplement family members' roles. Home care is easier to find than in the past, as it is the fastest growing category of elder care services.
Home Instead Senior Care is a locally owned business. We offer friendly, responsive service where you are, and we're dedicated to making our community a better place to live for seniors and their families. We are part of one of the most highly regarded home care companies in the United States, backed by more than 20 years of experience. We ensure quality of care first through our unique CAREGiverSM training program. This comprehensive educational experience equips our CAREGivers to provide ethical and individualized care to every person they serve. Call us to schedule a no-obligation in-home consultation to learn more about the compassionate, quality care we deliver each day to Allentown and Lehigh County area families: (610) 628-4211 or visit https://www.homeinstead.com/217 .
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