Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Facing the Crisis of Our Caregiving Daughters
There are currently 44 million unpaid eldercare providers in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the majority are women. And yet there are very few support programs in place to support these family caregivers, many of whom are struggling at work and at home. Working daughters often find they need to switch to a less demanding job, take time off, or quit work altogether in order to make time for their caregiving duties. As a result, they suffer loss of wages and risk losing job-related benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, and Social Security benefits.
This impact to a woman’s career is significant. Caregiving tends to hit women in their mid-40s, just around the time their earning potential starts to wane and dangerously close to the age when they may not be able to reenter the workforce if they leave.
These same women are expected to live well into their mid-80s, and outlive (by about two years) the average man. How will they afford their own care later in life if they can’t save for it at midlife while they are caring for someone else?
There is a national dialogue about the need for affordable childcare and paid parental leave. Elder caregivers are all but absent from the conversation. Sure, paid family leave is starting to be framed as both a childcare and eldercare issue, but many policies only address the working parent, not the worker with parents. New research reveals the majority of Americans feel caring for two elderly adults would be more difficult than caring for two toddlers.
Caring for an aging parent is a much more significant life passage than we give it credit for being. When you are caring for a child, it doesn’t threaten your identity. Because that’s what parents do. But when you are a daughter, you are cared for. You turn to your parents for refuge. When they seek refuge from you it shakes your identity.
Are you an unpaid caregiver struggling with the demands of work life, home life and caring for aging parents? Touching Hearts Senior Care is here to provide you with information, resources and education to help you manage the stress of being an overworked caregiver. Visit our website www.touchingheartsseniorcare.com and learn more about what we can do to help.