Caring for Elderly Taking a Toll on Families


Caring for Elderly Taking a Toll on Families
New research reveals the real cost of caring for elderly relatives.

Growing life expectancies coupled with families having children later in life is causing strain on the people left looking after both kids and parents, a new study has found.

Research by Australian company CarePilot discovered that 1 in 2 Australians in what they call the Sandwich Generation – people who have children and at least one parent – presently help their parents with household jobs and personal care approximately 5 hours a week. Of these people, 46% admitted that juggling children and elderly family members was affecting their own emotional and physical health.

A survey of 1000 Australians 18 years and over was conducted, with national quotas according to gender, location and age applied. To ensure the results most accurately reflected the Australian population, the collected data was analysed based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics population estimates. Of the 1000 participants surveyed, 778 belonged to the Sandwich Generation.

And while many participants felt exhausted from dealing with their multiple responsibilities and even said caring for parents was affecting the amount of time they spent with their children, 33% believed that aged care facilities are not good enough.

“Many families don’t trust or want their parents to live in aged care facilities, so they juggle bringing up kids and work while also spending many hours supporting their elderly parents live at home,” says Geriatrician and Clinical Director of CarePilot Dr Tuly Rosenfeld. “Caring for elderly parents who live at home as well as managing your own family, while working and also trying to find time for yourselves can be overwhelming.”

Rosenfeld suggests considering an in-house care service as an alternative to sending elderly family members to aged care facilities. “There are many care services to support the elderly to live at home even if they are less mobile or have cognitive issues,” he says. “These can include household chores, personal hygiene and companionship as well as clinical care.”

Personalised care in the patients’ home will relieve families from some of the stress and pressure that results from caring for both parents and children. Simultaneously, in-home care also enables the elderly to live more independently and remain in a familiar, comfortable environment as long as possible. Rosefeld recommends visiting a doctor or geriatrician before making any decisions, to determine the best outcome for all parties. “Everyone’s needs are different, so they should get advice from a clinically trained care manager or aged care specialist,” he says.

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