According to the National Family Caregivers Association:
• 59 percent of the adult population are caregivers or anticipate being family caregivers in the near future.
• Nearly two-thirds of Americans under age 60 think they will be responsible for elder care in the next 10 years.
• Spouses comprise 62 percent of primary caregivers who live with their care recipients.
• 5 million long-distance caregivers provide care from afar. Experts state that figure will double in 15 years.
Ten years ago Mom and I began to attend her medical appointments together, run errands together and figure out some of her paperwork together. At age 75 my mother gradually began to need help, and I was happy to do just that.
This story is common among families with aging loved ones.
And just as I began to provide informal help, so do many family members begin their caregiving role unaware of its significance until one day — as was true for me — we realize how dependent upon us our loved one has become. We are caregivers.
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