Consumer Guide to Caregivers
Caregivers make it possible for retirees, those with a disability, and others recovering from a medical condition to live comfortably at home.
Two years into her retirement, Sandy was dining out regularly, traveling to countries she had only dreamed of visiting, and generally living the active, fun lifestyle she never had time for during her career as a school teacher. She was having the time of her life, until she fell.
The fall resulted in constant pain, a loss of equilibrium, and the realization that she could no longer do much of what she once took for granted. She was thankful to be able to remain in her own home, but she clearly needed help.
Bennie was a caring father, a devoted husband, and the life of the party, but he never did have the best memory; always forgetting where he put his keys or unable to find the screw driver he used just yesterday.
As Bennie grew older, his memory grew worse. When he forgot the punch line to a favorite joke, his family shrugged it off as his advancing age catching up with him. Then the police found him wandering with no idea where he lived.
Bennie moved in with his grandson's family. At first, it was wonderful having him there to meet his great-grandchildren after school. However, as his Alzheimer's symptoms grew worse, it became clear he couldn't be left alone during the day, yet the family couldn't afford for anyone to quit working to stay home with him; they just needed a little help.
An estimated 10,000 individuals are reaching retirement age every day, more than 4 million every year until the year 2030. In better health and with access to far more advanced medical care than their parents had at retirement make, when the unexpected happens, many are able to continue living at home with only limited assistance. Providing that assistance becomes a problem when family members are unable to stop working to provide care or are simply too far away to do so.
Americans have become one of the most mobile societies in the world. Families spread throughout the nation seeking better employment, climates, and education opportunites while remaining in close contact through social media. While we may have the desire to be there to help when needed, we don't always have the ability to do so.
Medical advances and the high cost of medical care have greatly increased the level of out-patient care over in-patient care. For most, the comfort of convalesing at home is far more preferable to lying in a hospital room. But when friends and family aren't close enough to depend on for when help is needed, staying at home may not be an available option.
This is what's driving the popular rise in caregiver services. A caregiver is someone who provides non-medical assistance to those who prefer to remain at home, but face too many daily challenges to do so alone.