Here’s a trend with significant implications: Older adults are not just receiving care, but also providing (think sick spouse, a family member, friend, or neighbor). In one of my AARP blogs, I write about a study just released with steep statistics on this phenomenon. What community services do we have, do we need, to address these graying caregivers/care receivers?
Take a look:
A new national survey confirms what some of us already know: Many older Americans take care of others and are not just on the receiving end. Let’s get specific. In this first-ever United States of Aging survey, half of respondents identify someone as their caregiver, while nearly one-third say they care for another person.
Those are just two caregiving results culled from the survey, created by the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today. Its purpose is to gauge the readiness of communities and adults age 60+ to what I call the “silver deluge”—the 77 million boomers turning 65 to the tune of 10,000 a day.
The three groups decided to ask 2,250 adults age 60+ how prepared they are for their own aging and what they think of the resources available to them in their cities and towns.
Questions covered financial security, community resources, health and wellness, aging in place and caregiving. But don’t expect to see survey results here on all of these topics. Reminder: You are reading a blog on family caregiving!
Not to worry. You can still bone up on survey findings in these other areas.
Consider this a baseline survey. Comparing subsequent reports to it will be particularly insightful. Here are highlights from the inaugural report:
- Close to half of caregivers say they would benefit from more community services. On that list is respite care.
- 61% know their community has services to help them, yet just 15% have used them.
- 21% more have no clue whether services are available where they live.
Have you ever thought about who will be your caregiver should you need one? How about who you may need to look after?
It may seem ultra premature to think about your own caregiving plan for the future. Get over it! You don’t have to make a move, but it’s important to begin thinking about positioning yourself so you’ll have an optimum caregiving situation. Will it be easier if you live closer to family or have them live closer to you? Can you create your own “family” with supportive friends, a retirement community, or consider other housing options?
Intergenerational cohousing? Aging in place and belonging to a “Village” membership network that offers social opportunities like movies, museums, theatre, a group meal, or book club, not to mention rides to medical appointments, discounted home repairs and even dog walking?
I’d love to hear what you’re thinking. Are you a caregiver who also needs care? Have any strategies you can share?