The gist of it was that as the boomers age (we all are, so get over it), we will cause the ranks of the 80-plus folks to swell; and a lot of that population will need some caregiver help in some fashion.
Alongside this dynamic, the number of possible caregivers (for the sake of the study, they looked at folks between 45 and 64 years old) is declining. The stats presented show that in 2010, there were about 7.2 people of this age group for every 80-plus person. By 2030, the ratio goes down to 4.1 and continues to slide.
I get that unless you’re a census taker or population demographics is one of your hobbies, that at first glance, this all could be at best semi-interesting. In one way or another, however, you, me, or someone we know will be impacted.
Many, many folks are already in caregiver mode with a family member — though most do not identify themselves as such. These family caregivers continue to meet the needs of loved ones as just part of being family — it’s what they do. And they will carry on until they no longer have to. The underlying question is: “Who will take care of the caregiver when he/she needs help?”
Given the above statistics, for future generations (pay attention, boomers) there may not be family available. Add to this the fact that fewer folks are getting married and/or having children than previously and you begin to get the picture.
To me, these types of studies always carry a little unreality with them. Will the future be that bleak? Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes we can worry so much about the future, we forget to live today. One thing I do know is that regardless of how all this plays out; the whole caregiver road is one that doesn’t have to be traveled alone. And while we can’t fix the future, we can help with the living today piece.
If you’re a family caregiver, obviously you are more focused on the “other” who needs help than yourself — makes sense. It also makes sense to get some support to lighten the load, so that you can continue to do what you do.
The Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) can do that. The focus is on you, the caregiver, and services range from counseling, respite, information, support groups to possibly exercise programs and other resources. The goal is to keep you healthy and support your efforts. Once you contact us, screenings and evaluations are done in order to see what’s needed and to connect the dots.
Are you ready for some help? How about just information? Have questions (understandable)? Contact Linda Green in our Raymond office at 942-2177 or 888-571-6557 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Eric Nessa at 866-582-1485 (NessaEM@dshs.wa.gov). These folks work with families and caregivers daily and are a great resource. You can also go to our website (www.o3a.org) and hit the link for Resources for Caregivers and see what it’s about.
For now, it’s enough to think about today, so good luck. And thank you!
Information & Assistance:Raymond: 942-2177, 888-571-6557
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.hometowndebate.com 8/29/13. If you would like to respond to this story, go to hometowndebate.com