Caregiving is becoming a big part of everyday life for millions of families throughout the United States. As our population ages, families, not institutions, will provide the majority of care to chronically ill and disabled loved ones. More families are providing care for an older adult at home now, and an increasing number of people will need such care in the future. These family caregivers know well the burden in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other long-term conditions.
Medical advances, shorter hospital stays, limited discharge planning, and expansion of home care technology have placed increased costs, as well as increased care responsibilities, on families. They are being asked to shoulder greater care burdens for longer periods of time. These burdens and health risks can hinder the caregivers’ ability to provide care, lead to higher health care costs and affect the quality of life of both the caregiver and care receivers.
Caregiving impacts not only a growing number of individuals, but their families and their workplaces as well. According to recent studies, as many as 42 percent of employed Americans have provided eldercare in the last five years; 17 percent currently provide care. The average age of caregivers is 49—a peak year for earnings and for career achievement. Women, who have traditionally been the caregivers for both children and the elderly, are now in the workforce and less available to provide full-time care, which has led to more men assuming caregiving responsibilities.
Most family caregivers reach a point when they realize they need help at home. Tell-tale signs include recognizing that your loved one requires constant supervision and/or assistance with everyday activities, such as bathing and dressing. Caregivers also find that certain housekeeping routines and regular errands are accomplished with great difficulty or are left undone. It may become apparent that in order to take care of any business outside the home, more than one caregiver is required.
Types of care range from personal to every-day tasks and activities.
Personal Care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting
Household Care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
Health Care: medication management, physician’s appointments, physical therapy
Emotional Care: companionship, meaningful activities, conversation
The average caregiver provides care for more than four years, with some care extending for decades. Few caregivers use paid help: fully 76 percent of working caregivers rely only on their families and themselves. At times, caregiving can seem like a second job.
The Traxx Mobility Systems Titan 500 Overhead Patient Lift was designed with the caregiver in mind. The lift system allows a single caregiver to transfer a patient from bed to wheelchair in three minutes without physical strain. Designed for home use, the system fits in the bedroom and allows for an overhead lift without attaching anything to your home.