1. Labor of Love
Eighty percent of long-term care performed in the home is provided by an unpaid caregiver, usually a partner, friend, or family member.
2. Time Investment
The average person providing in-home care to an aging relative or friend spends 20 hours a week giving care. 58 percent of these caregivers have intensive responsibilities that include personal care activities, such as feeding and bathing.
3. Caught in the Middle
Approximately 66 million middle-aged adults have been dubbed the "Sandwich Generation" as they are doing double duty by providing emotional and financial support for both their aging parents and young adult children.
4. Activities of Daily Living
Most long-term care services are not medical in nature. Personal care needs are covered by some long-term care insurance plans. These needs are also called Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and include bathing, dressing, using the toilet, caring for incontinence, transferring to or from a bed or chair, and eating.
5. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
Aging parents can often stay in their home longer if they get assistance with everyday tasks often called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL). These tasks include housework, cleaning, managing money, taking medication, preparing meals, shopping for groceries and clothing, and using the telephone or computer.
6. Prescription Management
7. Medication Malfunctions
Adverse drug reactions are among the top threats to the health of seniors. Adverse drug reactions and noncompliance are responsible for 28% of hospitalizations of the elderly.
8. Reach Out
Web sites such as the Family Caregiver Alliance (www.caregiver.org) offer a wealth of resources for all levels of caregiving and tips for caring for family members with specific conditions.