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What Is Caregiving?

Caregiving of another adult with diminishing abilities can occur gradually, or suddenly.

Here are 6 tasks caregivers may perform:

* Respond first if there is something needed by or for the person needing care.

* Oversee the financial and business affairs of another adult.

* Do errands such as shopping, transportation, checking in personally on a regular basis.

* Provide daily assistance with meals and homemaking.

* Provide personal help with bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding and medication.

* Select, hire, and supervise appropriate care services for another adult, whether at home or in a nursing home.

Who Are Caregivers?

Caregivers are:

* 75% women, 50% of whom are employed outside of the home.

* 28% under 35 years of age

* 15% are 65 years or older

* 46 years old on average

Caregivers may live in the same house or community as the one they care for but often live hundreds of miles away.

Many family members, particularly women, find themselves part of the "sandwich-generation", with caregiving responsibilities for multiple generations. One-third of caregivers have two or more elderly to care for.

Adult Caregiving: A New Spin On An Old Problem

Caregiving of adults with disabilities-whether caused by age, accident, condition of birth-or disease--is the issue of the 1990's, like care was in the 80's.

For the first time in history, American families have MORE PARENTS THAN CHILDREN and are expected to spend 18 years caring for an elderly family member, compared to only 17 years caring for their children.

Organizations and individuals who have traditional commitments to the welfare of vulnerable community members are realizing the frail elderly are quickly becoming our largest vulnerable group.

Contrary to popular myth, we have not abandoned or warehoused our elderly. Nine out of 10 frail elderly and other adults with disabilities receive unpaid care from relatives or friends...only 5% of them reside in a nursing home at any given time.

* Since 1970, the 65+ population has grown 56% in America.

* The number of the "old old", people 85+, increased 65% since 1980!

* In Nebraska, those 85+ will double in EVERY COUNTY by the year 2000.

While a child's needs can usually be anticipated, the responsibilities for adult care often come suddenly, and are usually difficult to assess and subject to change.

This information was taken from "Caring for the Caregivers", a brochure published by the Women as Caregivers Task Force of the Lincoln-Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women.

(c) copyright 1994


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