This blog post is one that many of us in a certain age group will find hits close to home.
I found this article on dailyfinance.com and it talks about the difficulties we encounter when caring for an ill parent or an ill spouse.
Many of us are finding that we have responsibilities for caring for one or the other or both.
One of the key messages of the story: caring for an ill spouse is more stressful than caring for an ill parent.
Basically, life changes. It is not ever going to be the same if you are caring for an ill spouse. People who find themselves in such a caregiving position experience stress, frustration and anger.
A poll conducted by AARP and reported on in the story showed 62 percent who cared for a spouse said it caused stress in the family, compared to about half who cared for a parent.
About 20 percent said caring for a spouse has weakened their marriage.
Caregiving includes driving your spouse to doctors’ appointments, and may progress on to bathing and other hands-on care.
Most in the poll said they favor more programs to help people care for ill spouses or parents, including tax breaks to encourage people to save for long-term care or to buy long-term care insurance.
It is an issue that we will continue debating for years, I’m afraid.
There is support for caregivers. Most councils on aging have support groups that meet weekly or monthly where caregivers can speak freely about the problems they face. Below are several councils:
Arlington Council on Aging: http://www.arlingtonma.gov/departments/health-human-services/council-on-aging
Winchester Council on Aging: http://www.jenkscenter.org/aging.htm
Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association Support Groups: https://www.alzmassnh.org/support-groups/find-a-support-group/
There are also many online support resources and forums where people can share information and seek guidance. AARP has a very informative and active website dedicated to caregivers: “Caregiving Resource Center”