Poll Reveals More Stress in Caring for Spouse than for a Parent

A new poll reveals that the most stressful kind of caregiving is for a frail spouse.

The population is aging, but unfortunately not many people are preparing for the time when they will require assistance despite the fact that government figures show nearly 7 in 10 Americans will need long-term care at some point after they reach 65 years of age.

Strangely, people 40 years of age and over are more likely to discuss their funeral plans than their preferences for assistance with activities of daily living as they get older.

Here are five findings from the newest poll:

How It Affects Families

Seven in ten who cared for a spouse said it strengthened their relationship, while nearly two-thirds said it caused stress in their family. This is more than a little under half of those who cared for a parent.

The average age of spouse caregivers was 67, compared to 58 for adult children who have cared for their parent. This presents not just an emotional challenge, but a physical one.

Some spouses will try to care for their loved one at home, but eventually realize that their spouse requires more than the assistance they can provide. Often times finding a care provider is best not only for the safety of the spouse requiring assistance, but also for the safety of the spouse providing care.

Long-Term Care Planning

Interestingly, only one-third of Americans in this age group are deeply concerned about planning diligently for the care they will require in their senior years, and expressed that they do not want to burden their families.

Yet two-thirds say they’ve done little or no planning.

About 32 percent say they’ve set aside money to pay for ongoing living assistance; 28 percent have made modifications to their home to make it easier to live in when they’re older.

In contrast, two-thirds have disclosed their funeral plans.

Becoming a Caregiver

Three in ten Americans 40 years of age and older think it’s likely that an older relative or friend will need care within the next five years.

Only 30 percent who expect to provide that care feel prepared for the job, while half say they’re only somewhat prepared. Only 40 percent have discussed their loved one’s preferences for the kind of assistance they want or where they want to live. Women are more likely than men to have addressed those difficult conversations.

How Much Does It Cost?

As many as 53 percent of people underestimate the monthly cost of a nursing home, thinking it costs about $6,900. One-third underestimate the cost of assisted living, thinking it costs about $3,400. One in five wrongly assumed that home health aide costs under $1,000 a month.

Contrary to popular belief, Medicare does not cover the cost of the most common long-term care.

Source: Lauran Neergaard and Jennifer Agiesta, Channel 10 News

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