Seniors as Caregivers: Risks, Rewards and Options

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 15 May 2012

What happens when the senior is a caregiver too? There are special health risks and care needs for those serving as primary caregivers to spouses, adult children with disabilities or even grandchildren. Respite must be a priority, and families should research senior living options that may accommodate both the caregiver and caree should the need arise (continuing care communities may be a good solution, as we covered in this post: Family Living in CCRCs, Separate and Together).

Caregiving has its rewards; many find tremendous purpose and motivation in caring for their loved ones. Though seniors who are also caregivers may be at greater risk based on age and diminished health, and as there is always a possibility that caregiver burnout may occur no matter how old or young the caregiver, it is important for family members and friends to be supportive and offer help instead of immediately removing them from the position.

Rather than transitioning the caree, which could have a negative affect on the caregiver who stays behind (or vice versa), find ways to bolster their caregiving efforts: preparing meals, assisting with errands and transportation, cleaning the house or doing laundry,  picking up medications and prescriptions, and giving the caregiver a break now and then.

Talk back: Do you know a senior caregiver? How can you help them today?



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