As it stands today, about 15 million seniors are limited, to some degree by chronic health problems. Last year an estimated 2.5 million people spent some time in a nursing home compared to 5.5 million seniors who sought home health care.
According to the National Family Caregivers Association, 62 percent of family caregivers reported that they’ve spent five or more years providing care and an estimated 75 percent expect that they will continue for another five or more years. So are forced to ask the question “Am I My Parents’ Keeper?
As we enter the 22nd century we are faced with the enormous problem of a care giving crunch whereby many people are being forced to take time off from their jobs to take care of their ill parents. This means an increased amount of absenteeism for corporations, loss of productivity and turnover in many executive positions due to the care giving crunch.
In May, msn.com reported a story about Laurie Cook, a single 43-year-old woman who left her career in childcare to care for her 81-year-old mother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. To add to the emotional pressure, she was also the legal guardian of her brother, 53, who suffers from Autism and Obsessive Compulsive disorder. Laurie was forced to take on a lower paying job in order to be closer to her mother and brother and is now playing with the idea of tapping into her house’s equity.
All across America, people are faced with the same types of financial burden that the Cook’s carry. By the year 2040 it is estimated that 5.5 million Americans which is more than the entire population of Denmark will reside in a nursing home. Another 12 million people, equal to the combined populations of Singapore, New Zealand, and Israel will require ongoing home health care.