The number of older people who need care provided in their homes may be on the rise, but looking to family members to provide that care may not be the best answer, an NPR news segment reports.
A recent MetLife Mature Market Institute survey found that caring for family members caused undue stress and financial hardship on those providing it—potentially outweighing the benefits for the generation receiving the care. Families should look to alternatives, the segment says, rather than trying to provide care themselves.
Few people want to turn over a loved one to institutional care. No matter how good the nursing home, it may seem cold and impersonal — and very expensive. But making the choice to provide care yourself is fraught with financial risks and personal sacrifices.
Those who become full-time caregivers often look back and wish they had taken the time to better understand the financial position they would be getting themselves into.
“I used to hear about people saying, ‘Oh you know, we’ve got to put our parents in a home; we can’t deal with it anymore,’ ” said Yolanda Hunter, 43, a Maryland resident who is struggling with her decision to drop out of the human resources field to become a full-time caregiver for her grandmother. “And I used to think: ‘Oh, how cruel are you?’
“You know, but now? I understand,” she said.
…Nearly 10 million people over the age of 50 are caring for their aging parents, according to a study conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in conjunction with the National Alliance for Caregiving and the New York Medical College. The number of caregivers has more than tripled over the past 15 years.
Family caregivers are themselves aging and yet are providing care at a time when they also need to plan and save for their own retirement,” MetLife said. The people who drop out of the workforce “can jeopardize their future financial security,” the study concluded.
Listen to the NPR segment.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker