Article contributed by Daniel Faxtor of LivingSenior.
Many people born between 1946 and 1964, otherwise referred to as baby boomers, are beginning to take on the responsibility as primary caregiver for their parents or other close senior family members. While this is a noble act and one that is certainly appreciated by their parents, it can also put quite a strain on the caregiver due to the various new responsibilities they have. It not only affects their time and energy being diminished considerably, but other areas of their life as well including finances, personal relationships and other obligations. Some concerns involving baby boomers who are primary caregivers are short-term and can be resolved rather quickly while others have a more long-term and permanent effect on their lives.
One of the first concerns a baby boomer will have when caring for a relative as their primary caregiver is the financial obligations associated with this responsibility. As a caregiver, they are now responsible for paying for food, clothing, housing costs and insurance coverage in many cases among other general needs and requirements. They will need to have room in their home in order to care for their parent or relative and sufficient funds to cover all the needs of their relative in order to give them a full, healthy and well-balanced life. This can have both a short-term and long-term effect on everyone involved. The baby boomer may now be experiencing increased stress over the financial issues including additional problems if he or she is not able to work as many hours due to the other care giving responsibilities.
Another long-range concern for a primary caregiver is the effects on the baby boomer’s own personal life and marriage. Marriages can become under strain when other stresses and frustrations get in the way of their own life. A baby boomer who is also a caregiver not only has their own issues to work through such as how they will handle money, work and health insurance concerns of their own once they reach retirement age, but the fact that they now have this added responsibility. It can take a rather large toll on their emotional state which in turn can affect any personal relationship or marriage they have.
Long-term concerns involving the baby boomer’s health and quality of life are also affected. Being a primary caregiver for anyone, especially an elderly person, requires a good amount of time, energy and patience. It can oftentimes be a full-time job in order to keep the person happy and comfortable, as well as healthy. For this reason, the baby boomer may end up dealing with their own health issues, due to lack of time or motivation to take care of these issues. The baby boomer may notice that the longer they ignore their own personal health concerns, the more of an impact it can make on everyone around him or her. It is vitally important to try to find a balance between being an excellent caregiver and not forgetting about their own health and comforts.