It’s difficult to witness the deterioration of physical or mental abilities in an aging parent, grandparent or other loved one. This is especially true in remembering the days when we, ourselves, were the recipients of their care. Many of my patients’ caregivers discuss the transitional challenges they experience when the responsibility for their elderly parents’ safety and comfort becomes one of their integral roles. They often reach out to me in need of advice because the task can be intensely overwhelming — both emotionally and financially.
Whether or not we’re well-equipped or prepared, the reality remains that many of us will be tasked with making impactful decisions associated with caring for an elderly loved one. Studies show that within the next 30 years, the number of Americans who are 65 years of age and older is set to more than double, reaching 88.5 million. [i] In other words, while current and future generations decrease in size, they will need to be prepared to care for a larger generation of elderly loved ones in need. [ii] Since 80 to 90 percent of elderly people would choose to reside in their own homes as long as possible, as opposed to a nursing home or independent care, the new role for elderly caregivers can be challenging. The baby boomer generation has now reached a point where they need to be conscious of their caregivers, while still maintaining their independence and active lifestyle.