The Impact of Family Caregiving

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By Michelle D. Javid, MSW
Manager of Business Development, Seniors at Home-JFCS
Member, Steering Committee, Aging Action Initiative

In the United States today, there are approximately 44 million family members caring for a person who is aging, disabled, or seriously ill, according to the AARP. At some point in our lives, most of us will care for an elderly parent, spouse, partner, or friend. Initially, we feel rewarded and eager to help our loved one, but as the demands of caregiving increase, so do the stress and exhaustion. With a majority of family caregivers juggling paid employment, childcare, and other responsibilities on top of caregiving duties, it is common for family caregivers to be at higher risk for anxiety, depression, and increased use of alcohol or other substances.
As the aging population in Marin increases, we are seeing more families stepping into the caregiver role. The “sandwich generation” refers to middle age adults who provide physical, financial, and emotional care to both their aging parents and their own children. According to a 2013 Pew research report, nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent aged 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a child age 18 or older.
The demands of balancing work and caregiving duties can have a significant financial impact on family caregivers, especially on women. According to a 2011 study from MetLife and Family Caregiver Alliance, a woman who leaves the workforce to care for an aging parent stands to lose more than $324,000 in wages and benefits over her lifetime. More significantly, with an increase in college-age children living at home and the unbearable costs of in-home care and assisted living, many report bearing financial responsibility for both their children and their aging parent. This can affect their own financial future and well-being.
Luckily, local resources are available to help ease the burden on family caregivers. Here in Marin County, the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) provides grants to eight nonprofit organizations that provide education, support, and respite to family members caring for an aging loved one. With funds provided by the Marin County Aging and Adult Services from the National Family Caregiver Act, FCSP is administered by the Alzheimer’s Association and has proven to be a successful network of reputable organizations working together to coordinate care and provide much-needed support.
Seniors At Home, a division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, is one of the organizations providing caregiver support through FCSP. We offer a wide range of support for older adults and their family caregivers including respite in-home care, dementia care consultations, care management, counseling, and more.
For more information on the FCSP collaborative and available services downloadable here or you can call Seniors At Home at 415-449-3777 to learn more about our supportive services.

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