Taking Care of the Elderly

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HSA505:

Health Services Planning and Marketing

Taking Care of the Elderly: Which Options is Best for Your Loved One or Family Member

December 13, 2009

Table of Contents

Introduction…………………………………………………………… 3

Nursing Home Care………………………………………………….. 7

Adult Daycare…………………………………………………………. 10

Home Health and Hospice…………………………………………... 11

Conclusion……………………………………………………………. 16

References…………………………………………………………….. 17

Introduction

According to the United States Bureau of the Census, as of 1995 there were at least 54 million people who were 55 years old or older and 33.5 million of those were over 65 years old (Mathur & Moschis, 1999). According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 22 million homes in the United States has a family member or friend over the age of 50 years living as dependents in those homes. These numbers are likely to balloon by 2011 when the first wave of baby boomers reaches the age of 65 (Gerbman, 2000). A more recent survey conducted by AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) focused on the quality of life of those who care for their aged family members. The survey specifically targeted the middle generation, those who are caring for both the elderly in their family as well as their own children (Baron, 2001). According to the survey, while most of those interviewed enjoyed the caregiving process, they also admitted to a certain amount of stress and financial hardship that accompanied their roles (Baron, 2001). The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects, such as stress and financial hardship, and the significance of those effects, that caring for an elderly family member has on the family in general and the caregivers in particular, and it will focus on the different opportunities that are provided in the various communities.       While many men provide informal care to their elders, traditionally, women have functioned as the caregivers when elderly parents or other family members were in need of assistance. Research has also shown that men are more likely to help with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ACDL), such as grocery shopping, writing checks, and mowing the lawn. Alternately, women tend to assist their elders by providing Activities of Daily Living (ADL), such as bathing, dressing, or feeding. Thus, women are more likely to be providing the more strenuous and physically draining tasks when caring for their family members. Additionally, women have been shown to spend almost twice as much time as men in caregiving activities (Singleton, 2000). In the past, almost the entire function of the woman in the home was given over to caring either for children or parents. That was her job. Currently, however, women caring for family have more role demands upon them. Not only are they caring for their parents, but they are also often attempting to raise a family, work full-time, and involved in their communities (Singleton, 2000). Additionally, due to longer life expectancies, lower birth rates, and women waiting longer to start families, there is an increased likelihood that childcare and senior care will occur concurrently and that daily stress will increase (Singleton, 2000).      According to the Journal of Comparative Family Studies (2000), role strain theory best describes the stress that caregivers experience while caring for their elderly relatives (Singleton, 2000). Role strain theory argues that individuals have a limited amount of time and energy that is competed for by social organizations. This means that the number of various social roles that one occupies, such as caregiver, employee, spouse, and parent, increase the perceived stress in one’s life (Singleton, 2000). There are three types of role strain that affect caregivers: role demand overload, role inadequacy, and role conflict. When an individual has so many demands competing between the different roles that she plays that satisfactory performance is improbable, this...
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