The Future Supply of Family Caregivers

   Shakespeare declared, “What’s past is prologue.” This statement captures the demographic trends that predict the future supply of family caregivers in the United States. The past may be prologue, but the future ability of families to care for their aging members who encounter disabilities will be a “brave new world,” to quote the Bard again. In a recently released paper, we defined a “caregiver support ratio” as the number of potential caregivers ages 45-64 for each person age 80 …

Building Your Caregiving Team

As a caregiver, I have had many “aha!” moments. The following excerpt from my upcoming book, AARP’s Juggling Work and Caregiving (available November 2013) describes one of those moments when I realized I needed to build up my caregiving team: Eight months after I’d relocated to Phoenix to help my parents, I found myself frozen, unable to drag myself out of bed and face my to-do list. I was emotionally exhausted and utterly overwhelmed. I leaned out of bed far enough to …

Sibling Squabbles Over Mom? 7 Tips for Getting Along

Relationships with siblings can be solid and fulfilling, yet when there are issues regarding aging parents, even the sweetest situations can turn strained or worse. Hot-button issues are almost always around money (your parents’, caregiving expenses and who pays), family possessions, Mom and Dad’s independence and safety, living arrangements or medical decisions. You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen…. Or not enough. Your brother and sister might be delighted to leave the caregiving to you. …

Just How Valuable Is Family Caregiving?

A welcome recognition of the value of family caregiving came in a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated the economic value of caregiving for older persons in 2011 to be $234 billion. This estimate vastly exceeds the total amount of paid care from all sources (Medicaid, Medicare, private pay and others) for both institutional care ($134 billion) and home and community-based services ($58 billion). The AARP Public Policy Institute has made similar estimates of family caregiving …

Hi There – Great to Meet You!

As a new contributor to AARP’s “Take Care” blog, I’ve been thinking my first post should provide a bit of an introduction. I’m one of the 33 -40 percent  (depending on the survey) of U.S. caregivers who are men. My caregiving began with a phone call about 10 a.m. on Feb. 15, 2008 (one remembers these things). The caller ID showed “St. Jos. Hospital,” and a St. Louis area code. St. Louis had been my then-86-year-old father’s home for most …

From Caregiver to Care Recipient: What Will You Be Like?

I’ve been a long-distance caregiver since 2000 for my father, mother and now my nearly (happy birthday next week) 93-year-old mother-in-law. Talk about continuing education and on-the-job experience! I say with absolutely no pleasure, I know a lot about ailing parents. You might know what kind of caregiver you are and how you want to be treated, but have you thought about what it might be like for your family or friends when the tables are turned? Here is a …