Yes, We Still Care for Our Carees in Assisted Living


Yes, We Still Care for Our Carees in Assisted Living

Denise featured a study today that highlights the amount of time spent each month caring for a family member with dementia. (Read: 100 Hours of Help, No Pay for Caregivers.)

According to the report, The Disproportionate Impact Of Dementia On Family And Unpaid Caregiving To Older Adults, family caregivers spend more than 100 hours a month, on average, assisting elderly people with dementia who live in the community and not in residential care or nursing homes. Those who care for a family member without dementia spend about 73 hours each month providing care and helping.

Researchers then looked at how much time individuals spent caring for a family member with dementia who resides in independent or assisted living. When a caree resides in a facility, family caregivers spend about 45 hours per month caring and helping.

And, here's what rubbed me the wrong way.

CNN closed the article with this sentence:

Even though they provided fewer hours of care, "it's interesting that you still found a high percentage of (family) caregivers who were in contact with people when they were in residential facilities," Kasper says.

Yes, we still help and care for our carees who reside in a facility. We're still ever present--advocating, caring, nurturing. We're looking for lost dentures, stepping in when we have concerns about care, checking to ensure our caree receives the right care. The best possible care happens because of our efforts and insistence.

It's frustrating that a researcher researching caregiving issues would be surprised at our level of involvement when a caree lives in a facility. I also am irritated that the researcher doesn't understand the struggle behind that 45 hours per month. That figure, I'm assuming, includes long-distance family caregivers who must manage and oversee the care from miles away, not an easy task by any means. It also would include working family caregivers, who try their best to balance their career and caregiving responsibilities, which means that hours spent at the facility aren't as many as they would like. It also would include family members who made a truly tough decision that a caree is no longer safe at home or needs more care than can be provided at home. And, that's a gut-wrenching situation.

I just can't understand a researcher making an assumption--we're not in contact with our carees in facilities--and then expressing surprise when the assumption is incorrect.

Caregiving isn't about a location. It's ensuring our carees receive the best possible care, whether it be our caree's home, our home or the nursing home. It's a journey of the heart and soul.

Or, maybe it's just me overreacting to a innocent comment.

What do you think?