Beaverton Committee on Aging: Caregiver Support in Oregon (Part 1)

By Lou Weisbergcity-of-beaverton-logo

More than 20 million people in the United States are providing unpaid assistance to older adults with care needs (excluding those living in nursing homes). Nearly a quarter of caregivers are now millennials, and about one third of caregivers have a full-time job. Additionally, the overwhelming majority of care for older relatives is still provided by women who must balance caregiving with demands from their job and raising their own families.

More than ever, adults are living well into their golden years and require continuous help with activities of daily living (ADL’s). ADL’s are routine activities that everyone needs to do daily such as dressing, bathing, managing medications, etc.

There is a cost for those providing sustained help. Sixty percent of those caring for older family members report having to reduce the number of hours they work, take a leave of absence or make other career changes.

According to the National Family Caregiver Support Program, caregivers also have high rates of being late to work and having to leave early, both of which puts these employees at risk of losing their jobs. Other risk factors are having limited financial resources and income, or have limited or no access to paid leave.

They may lose income, benefits and career opportunities if they have to cut back on work hours or leave the workforce. They may also incur substantial out-of-pocket expenses that undermine their own future financial security.

The caregivers own health is also at risk. It’s been well documented that compared to non-caregivers, family caregivers of older adults are more likely to experience emotional distress, depression, anxiety, social isolation and impaired physical well-being. Plus, caregiving is more stressful than ever before.

Caregivers are tasked with managing difficult medical procedures and equipment… overseeing medications, and monitoring symptoms and side effects, and navigating complex health and Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) systems.

Look for part II in the December issue of the BRG.

For more information, please speak with your health care professionals and look up the Hearing Health Foundation (https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/. For information about the Beaverton Committee on Aging, contact jbrooks@beavertonoregon.gov.