The following video is a snippet of a PBS production of a 74-year-old woman who was diagnosed with dementia at 65. Her youngest daughter, 48, provides her care daily.
The daughter describes a day-in-day-out routine not unlike caring for a child: bathing, dressing, feeding, overseeing her toileting, helping her to get up and walk, and, as she is cognitively impaired, supervising her for her own safety and the safety of others. She does all this, herself, in addition to running her own small business.
The narrator reports that millions more in our country will share this situation in the coming years, as the population over 65 doubles over the coming 4 decades.
Two things strike me in this video.
- First, it is a wonderfully typical representation of most family caregivers who provide care for a loved one with dementia, or other disability acquired with age.
- Second, although a labor-of-love, the compromised quality-of-life for the daughter. In fact, the physician cites concern for her well-being. Another common element not reflected in this example, is a typical 48 year old would also have children of her own, for whom she is saving for college, adding to the overall challenge.
The video reports that 66% of those over 40 have done little to prepare for personal care needs later in life. In, fact, 70% of those over 65 will need some form of long-term care.
We strive to educate our clients on the issues of aging, and how best to prepare for them. This video, and others like it, help to illustrate the coming care-needs reality of many. Even a small amount of planning now can yield options later in life that can ease the caregiving burden. Funding for long term care, whether though assets or insurance is an important planning task that can bring peace of mind to you and your family.
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