As Americans continue to live longer and longer, more and more of them rely on caregivers for assistance. However, that takes a toll on caregivers and there is a dwindling supply of them.
For any job to get done, there must be people able and willing to do the job. Caring for the elderly is no exception.
As medical advances continue to allow people to live longer on average, there are more elderly who require people to care for them. Often that caregiving is provided by family members.
Unfortunately, with declining marriage rates, declining birth rates and a mobile society that can weaken family ties, there are fewer family members available to provide care for elderly relatives and who are willing to do so.
Providing that care also comes at a steep cost for those who do take on the job, as reported by The New York Times "Who Will Care for the Caregivers?"
Providing care for elderly relatives often causes stress and other emotional problems. This is especially true, if the caregivers have other jobs, which most do. People who serve as caregivers earn less over their lifetimes on average than those who do not.
Ironically, that makes it more likely they will in turn require care when they get older.
Elder law advocates and health care professionals need to be aware of these issues and potential problems. It is important to make sure that caregivers have the support they need both emotionally and financially. If they do not, then the ability to care for the elderly is compromised.
Reference: New York Times (Jan. 19, 2017) "Who Will Care for the Caregivers?"