A recent NBC Nightly News story focused on the role of caregiving as adult children take on the parental role vacated by their parents.
Imagine, if you can, handling all that you normally do in your hectic life and adding between 20 to 60 more hours to your workload. Haven’t arrived at that point yet? Of this potentiality you can be certain – all signs point to that being in your future. Whether your involvement is characterized by general care for an aging family member, or specialized care for a family member with cognitive decline, caregiving is most likely a task to which you have not devoted much attention.
It is said that 1,200 people per day are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Let’s re-categorize that statistic: 1,200 caregivers are created every day.
The new ad campaign, a joint project between AARP and the Ad Council, was created to address the impact of family caregiving with the graying of the population. This ad campaign seeks to provide resources for those who are thrust into this role for which they are ill-prepared.
“Although they often don’t identify themselves as ‘caregivers,’ more than 42 million Americans perform some form of consistent care for older or impaired adult relatives or friends, according to a 2009 estimate. It can range from paying bills, to driving Mom to doctor appointments, to more hands-on care such as bathing, and even tasks once left to nurses such as the care of open wounds.”
And as many of us who have been in that caregiving role can attest, ones’ active role goes on and on when behind-the-scenes caregiving occurs, dealing with finance and insurance issues and the like during our alleged “free” time; a time when others are settling down to watch their favorite TV show or to read a good book.
This extraordinary AARP/Ad Council project is broader than another effort that is part of the new National Alzheimer’s Plan that can be found on the federal government’s website, www.alzheimers.gov. But both of these projects address the loneliness inherent with the caregiving task when so many caregivers feel, and become, isolated and adrift in an ocean of frustration and despair.
FINALLY some resources are being directed to the tidal wave of caregiving issues that Baby Boomers face. It may be too little too late, but it’s more than has been available up to this point. My hope is that the generation in which our children live will have sufficient resources to deal with us Baby Boomers because if our children think this caregiving task is going to jump their generation, they’ve got another thing coming to them.
And I apologize ahead of time for what awaits you.