In the United States, 29% of the population serves as a caregiver in some capacity to an adult who is ill or incapacitated. Most of their charges are family members, including an aging parent or parents. Sixty-five million Americans provide care for another adult, and 40 million Americans, ages 15 and over, provide this care without financial compensation.
Caregivers are recognized several times throughout the year (although we could argue that they should be celebrated for their efforts every day), but the first official recognition came in 1994, when President Clinton signed a proclamation, designating November as National Caregivers Month.
As our population ages, we find ourselves caring for a growing number of elderly and infirm individuals, many of whom choose to remain in their homes, or simply not to enter a retirement or nursing facility. Awareness of the efforts of the people who care for them is a necessity, both to aid the elderly population in receiving the services they require, as well as to provide education and information about resources available to caregivers, and to let them know that they are not alone.
Caregivers – often referred to collectively as The Sandwich Generation – often must balance their own households, as well as those of their parent. In some cases, the parent moves into their adult child’s home; in others, the parent remains in their own home; and still others move into a care community in which their daily needs are met, but the adult child must oversee their finances and other paperwork.
In addition, caregivers often coordinate the schedules for medical appointments, personal appointments (such as haircuts and eye exams), shopping, and social outings, all while trying to maintain their own professional, social, health and wellness routines.
Experts on caregiver wellness recommend that adult caregivers take advantage of adult daycare programs whenever possible, as well as to share caregiving duties with siblings or other family members, or to hire an assistant to provide much-needed respite care.
It is also important for caregivers to take vacations, engage in social activities with friends, and maintain their own nutrition, fitness, and sleep schedules. And journaling has been shown to help caregivers sort through issues as they arise, as well as manage stress.
At Windsong, we create communities that appeal to Active Adults who share similar life-stage experiences. Many of our homeowners are currently managing the care of their own aging parents, while paying for college or helping their adult children by taking care of grandchildren. Having friends who live next-door or down the street, or whom you meet at the Clubhouse or while taking a walk through the community, is not only helpful, it is empowering.
Celebrating life at every stage is just one of the reasons our homeowners feel welcome at Windsong.