Does Your Personal Life Cease to Exist When Your Elder Parent Moves In?

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In the past, American culture has emphasized the traditional nuclear family consisting of a pair of adults and their non-adult children.  These days, multigenerational households are becoming increasingly more common.  As lifespans grow longer, healthcare costs rise, and financial inability to afford a home increases, more and more adults find themselves in a position to bring their aging parents into their home.  A decision to share a household brings up variety of challenges ranging from financial to personal, with caregiving (a person involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks) being the most difficult.  Consider the following statistics:

·       More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability (AARP, 2008).

·       An estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities (NAC, 2004).

·       Unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 90%of the long-term care (IOM, 2008).

·       The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman with some college experience and provides more than 20 hours of care each week to her mother (NAC, 2004).

·       Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35%), managing emotional and physical stress (29%), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29%) (NAC, 2004).