Boomer Expectations vs Reality of Adult Caregiving

An overwhelming majority (88%) of our nation’s middle-income Boomer caregivers find caregiving for a parent or spouse harder than they expected, requiring more emotional strength (57%), patience (55%) and time (52%).   The study, Retirement Care Planning: The Middle-Income Boomer Perspective, which surveyed 505 adult caregivers ages 49 to 67 with an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000, also found caregiving to cost more (34%), impact their relationships (33%) and take more physical strength (32%) than previously thought.

In the U.S., unpaid caregivers provide approximately $450 billion worth of care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. Among middle-income Boomers, four in ten have been a caregiver to a parent or spouse. Among these caregivers, 77% cared for a parent, and nearly one-fourth (23%) cared for a spouse.  Despite the gender stereotypes, male Boomer caregivers are not uncommon. The study cites one-third (32%) of male Boomers classify themselves as adult caregivers, only modestly trailing the percentage of female Boomers who have been adult caregivers (44%).

When it comes to caregiving tasks, middle-income Boomer caregivers perform a wide range of duties. Their caregiving spanned all four components of caregiving, including heavy involvement in informal caregiving, care process management, personal caregiving and elements of medical caregiving. Although they primarily relied on doctors and nurses to perform medical caregiving, Boomer caregivers found themselves quite involved in personal caregiving needs, such as: Assistance with eating (79%), Assistance with getting in an out of bed (78%), Assistance with toileting (69%), Assistance with dressing (68%), Assistance with bathing (56%).

Most Boomer caregivers report receiving limited help from others with their caregiving duties. Seven in ten (69%) report that their spouse does not provide extensive caregiving support, 78% report their children do not heavily participate, and 68% report that other family members do not directly participate in most caregiving duties. When others did volunteer to help, assistance is most commonly with informal caregiving activities, such as visiting, driving or doing light household chores.

If caregiving for a loved one is this difficult for baby boomers, of which there are many, think how difficult things will be for baby boomer’s children, of which there are less.   Perhaps now might be a good time to investigate Long Term Care insurance so that the next generation is not burdened with providing care for their parents.  Call at (920) 884-3030 or (800) 219-9203 to investigate.

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