Wednesday, July 30, 2014
A new poll shows that becoming a caregiver to a frail spouse causes more stress than having to care for other family members. Americans 40 and older say that they count on their families to care for them as they age. However, neither the aging population nor loved ones who anticipate helping them are planning for long term care. People are far more likely to disclose their funeral plans to friends and family than divulge their preferences for assistance with day-to-day living as they get older, according to the poll.
While the majority of caregivers call it a positive experience, it is also very difficult. “Your relationship changes. Life as you know it becomes different . . . The traditional vows are through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, etc. At the age of 25 and 32, you say those things and you’re high on love and healthy, and life is all in front of you. The meanings of those words are pretty much lost, even when you concentrate on them.” However, seventy percent of those who care for a spouse say their relationship grew stronger as a result.
With a rapidly aging population, more families will face those responsibilities and almost twice as many Americans are concerned about burdening their families.
See Lauran Neergaard and Jennifer Agiesta, More Stressful to Care for Spouse than Mom, Fifty Plus Advocate, July 29, 2014.