Aging parents can create stress for caregivers |

Aging parents can create stress for caregivers

Tracy Tutag and Jeffrey Apps
Vail, CO, Colorado

With advancements in medicine and health, the American life span is increasing. Living longer is becoming the norm, and many will need some form of assistance or medical care in their later years. In many cases, adult children provide a large portion of this care.

At a Congressional event to honor older people in 2000, Rep. John E. Sweeney said, “This event also honors a sacred covenant and repays a debt. Our elders were responsible for our care and safety as infants. Now, the wheel of life comes full circle and we must be mindful and ever vigilant of the well-being of our parents’ generation.”

More and more baby boomers are answering this call to action, as many are finding themselves in the position of becoming caretakers to their aging parents, who may rely on them for occasional assistance or full time care.

Baby boomers who become their parents’ primary caregivers often find themselves torn between competing obligations, and in doing so take on considerable financial and scheduling responsibilities. In the midst of raising and caring for their own families, they often struggle to meet the demands of their careers and/or their own financial preparations for retirement and, consequently, suffer a broad range of physical and emotional stress.

Stressed out caregivers often feel guilty about not meeting each of their many duties. Such thinking only leads to more stress and perpetuates the guilt and anger. To help alleviate these feelings, caregivers must make caring for themselves a priority. A caregiver can only give his or her best when he or she is relatively happy and healthy. To that end, it is essential that caregivers maintain healthy lifestyles and set aside they must remember that it is OK to ask for help, and many people will be glad for the opportunity to provide assistance.

Caregivers should seek out and utilize community services as much as possible. Those services can allow for social interaction, and they will allow the caregiver to attend to his or her own family and/or personal needs. Here are some services for caregivers to consider:

Home health care is available to assist with physical and occupational therapy as well as helping with dressing, bathing other activities of daily living. Some home care services will help with chores, such as cleaning and grocery shopping

Senior centers provide a great opportunity for elders to socialize and receive nutritious meals.

Transportation services can help a senior attain mobility after they have stopped driving. This can allow seniors to get to medical or other appointments independent of family assistance.

In case of an emergency, it may be a good idea for a senior to wear a personal emergency response system. If the senior activates a button on the device, emergency services will respond.

Unfortunately, as physical needs increase, financial limitations may affect the type of care an aging parent receives. Most people are unable to pay for long term care, and neither Medicaid nor Medicare was designed to pay for long-term care. A survey conducted in 2002 by RoperASW found that, while nine out of 10 individuals think that some type of insurance coverage for long-term care is “fairly important,” only two of 10 currently have it.

Long-term Care insurance, which can help cover the cost of certain health care needs, is an important component of building financial security. Policies often provide options for varying levels of care including home care, assisted living or residential care facilities and nursing homes. This coverage also helps ensure that when advanced, skilled medical care is needed, children will not be relied upon to provide care that they are most likely not trained to deliver. Long-term care insurance may also protect savings and assets from being depleted to provide care. Many companies offer Long-term care insurance, talk to a financial professional about the program that works best for you.

Jeffrey Apps and Tracy Tutag sell securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC), 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 212-314-4600, and offer annuity and insurance products through an insurance brokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. They can be reached at 926-0601 or by e-mail at

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