I couldn’t resist pulling this headline’s quote from an article posted last night on TheBlaze about a new campaign portraying the frustrations for those who care for elderly parents. The campaign is meant to drive these caregivers to helpful resources. The quote itself was originally from Dr. Eileen Callahan, a geriatrician at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, who spoke with the Associated Press. She was referring to how “it is so incredibly sad” that family caregivers feel so “isolated” in their endeavors to take care of aging parents and grandparents.
The efforts from the AARP to provide caregivers with more resources to help them juggle taking care of their folks in addition to maintaining their everyday lives should be applauded. But what is also “so incredibly sad” is how taking care of needy parents is portrayed and how with each generation there is an increased unwillingness to make the same personal sacrifices those parents made only a few decades before.
From the AP’s story:
Although they often don’t identify themselves as “caregivers,” more than 42 million Americans perform some form of consistent care for older or impaired adult relatives or friends, according to a 2009 estimate. It can range from paying bills, to driving Mom to doctor appointments, to more hands-on care such as bathing, and even tasks once left to nurses such as the care of open wounds.
“At first you’re just helping out Mom. Then it can become more than a fulltime job,” said AARP’s Whitman.
She described the average U.S. caregiver as a 49-year-old woman who on top of her regular job provides nearly 20 hours a week of unpaid care to her mother for nearly five years.
Did that mom who now needs to be driven to the doctor, bathed and diaper-changed graciously do the very same when said caregiver was then in their infancy and needed it? That was considered a fulltime job, too — moms who also work “day jobs” today will still proudly talk about how being a mom is also a fulltime job, which they don’t get paid for. Did those parents who are now taking a “toll on the caregivers own health and finances as they put off their own doctor visits, dip into their savings and cut back their working hours” once live among a plethora pre-school germs, give up dreams of owning a yacht and probably take on even more work hours after the kids went to bed to try and save for their college education?
More often than not, they did.
So is this how caring for these parents should be portrayed?