CINCINNATI—Every day, Ohio experiences a net increase of 14 people age 65 or older, and by 2012 that number will grow to 119 per day, according to a recent report from the Ohio Public Expenditure Council. While an aging population affects many areas, such as the economy and health care, one of the most important impacts of this increase is the need for caregivers.
“If you’re not already providing care or support for a family member or a friend, chances are you will some time during your life,” says Charles Puchta, director of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing Center for Aging with Dignity.
According to the National Family Caregivers Association, more than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.
“Most people lack the information, skills and confidence they need to be a caregiver,” says Puchta. “The best time to prepare and become familiar with a caregiver’s roles and responsibilities is before there’s a need to provide support.”
Puchta says the types of assistance people often need includes:
- Emotional—listening and responding to concerns, providing encouragement and moral support, maintaining contact and simply being there when needed.
- Financial—organizing bills, writing checks, balancing the checkbook and providing money to help cover expenses.
- Physical—assisting with daily living including personal care, household chores, meals, driving, medication, etc.
- Spiritual—helping people find meaning and purpose in life, maintaining hope, coping and finding peace through prayer or meditation based on their cultural and religious preferences.
“A caregiver has many responsibilities and roles and it’s important for them to recognize their own limitations and to ask for help,” he says.
The Center for Aging with Dignity focuses on helping people understand their situation, find the information they need to take the appropriate action and make informed decisions. The center is designed to complement existing services and organizations.
The center offers a series of publications on topics related to caregiving, including helpful resources on paying for care and living arrangements and providing care from out of town.
In addition, information is available that addresses what’s normal and what’s not in aging, when it’s time for an older adult to stop driving and how you can approach them, and how caregivers and older adults can address the concerns of dying, among other topics.
For more information on the center, call (513) 558-2428 or visit www.careadvocate.org.