This was originally from the New York Times News Service by Roni Caryn Rabin, and appeared in Canada on May 26th, 2017. I'd filed it, and forgot about it, but having just found it agian, feel it's important to share. So please take a look a this and reflect…
‘Conscientious daughter’ is best long-term care plan!
This week, the medical journal JAMA Neurology highlighted a looming crisis for women and their employers: The growing ranks of dementia patients who will end up relying on family members, typically daughters, for their care.
“The best long-term care insurance in our country is a conscientious daughter,” wrote the authors, all of whom are fellows at Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center, which studies new methods of health-care delivery.
The authors note that by 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 or older, and the number of older Americans living with dementia is expected to increase to 8.5 million, up from 5.5 million now.
Most dementia patients eventually require round-the-clock care, yet there is no clear national road map or overarching plan for providing it. Most of the care for older adults in the United States – from paying bills to feeding, bathing and dressing – falls on unpaid caregivers and most of them are women.
Although men do provide some caregiving for older family members with dementia, the burden is not shared equally, experts say.
“Women are at the epicentre of caregiving as a whole, and Alzheimer’s caregiving in particular,” said Ruth Drew, director of family and information services at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Even though two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are women themselves, two-thirds of the caregivers are also women. So there are more wives caring for their husbands than the reverse, more daughters caring for parents than sons.”
“We see a lot of daughters caring not only for their parents, but their in-laws,” she added.
Most experts don’t anticipate that changing significantly. That’s because, despite progress, women continue to do a disproportionate amount of child care.
Although men have become more involved and taken on more responsibilities at home, “it hasn’t been a significant contribution and certainly hasn’t kept pace with women’s increased
participation in the work force,” said Dr. Clifford Sheckter, a fellow at the Clinical Excellence Research Center, surgery resident and a co-author of the essay.
When it comes to caring for people with dementia, “the numbers are skewed strongly toward women, and it’s hard to imagine that by 2030 the numbers will even out to 50-50,” said Nicholas Bott, a neuropsychologist and another co-author who is also a fellow at the Clinical Excellence Research Center. “It shouldn’t be an unspoken rule that this falls on certain members of the family, but as of now, it still is falling primarily on the daughters and female spouses more than on men.”