Due in part to the fact that Americans are living longer, there are now over 70 million baby boomers who are now dealing with the reality of having to care for their aging parents or grandparents. Supplying geriatric care needs can affect these individuals on many different levels. Impediments such as arthritis, high blood pressure or increased blood sugar levels are just a few of the concerns that may require the attention of someone taking care of an elderly person. In addition to these medical conditions, incontinence and immobility may be additional burdening concerns, as well as comorbidities such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, CHF (Congestive Heart Failure, and Dementia. With this in mind, aging adults may need the assistance of geriatric care professionals, in conjunction with skilled caregivers, in order to afford a safe, healthy, stress free environment for their loved ones.
Today, a number of geriatric care options exist for concerned baby boomers to choose from. There are nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALF), independent living facilities, and in-home care service providers. Depending on the extent of service and assistance necessary, any of these geriatric care options could be a viable solution. While nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be more convenient for the responsible family member, these sorts of geriatric care options may also be cost prohibitive. According to Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of private nursing home care in the US is now $92,345 per year (or $235 per day). Assisted living facilities usually charge less, while in-home care is the least expensive option with flexible payment rates that can vary depending on the skill set and time required for the patient’s care.
Aside from these usual geriatric care options, there are those who choose to offer care for their elderly parents or grandparents personally. They are classified as “informal caregivers”, and provide in-home care for their loved ones without formal training or education in geriatric care. While this setup may be motivated by very noble causes, the physical, emotional, and psychological pressures associated with this kind of arrangement could become a very large burden for someone to assume. In addition to the pressure of caring for an elderly person, there may also be some legal implications if you cannot provide the level of appropriate geriatric care needed for your elderly relatives.
Just recently, prosecutors from the State of Pennsylvania charged an “informal caregiver” with allegedly committing “assisted suicide” to his chronically ill and aged father, in spite of the personal requests to end his life due to the fact the father felt an undue burden was being placed on his child. It is important to note that taking care of the elderly requires tremendous amounts of dedication, care, and caution on a daily and ongoing basis.