I have been trying to find out more about caregiving through the ages, with not so much luck on a lot of information. I have in my mind that families years and years and years ago would have multiple generations under one roof. Was this for economic reasons, health related reasons or just because it was the social norm of the time? Did I get this from the movies or books?
Here is a tad bit of what I have encountered while searching the last few days.
History of Caregiving in the US This is a good article but does not go back far enough for me. There are many links in this article which makes more reading. Social Security begins in 1935 and The Public Health Service Act of 1944 helps too. There have been quite the many name changes and agency updates over the years. I supposed because this has been happening… excerpt from http://www.ericdigests.org:
Since 1970 the median age of the United States population has been rising and is expected to continue to rise into the mid-21st century. In this so-called graying of America, a greater proportion of the population will be over 65. In 1900, one American in twenty-five was age 65 or over; in 1984, one in nine. By the middle of the next century, one in five Americans will be elderly. The proportion of oldest-old Americans, those 85 and over, is growing even more rapidly. This part of the population is expected to triple in size between 1980 and 2020. The oldest-old are especially important to caregiving studies, since this group of elderly is most likely to have chronic health problems and children who are elderly themselves. Also mentioned in this article is this:
Traditionally, it has been the duty of adult children to care for their elderly parents. For previous generations, children served as old age insurance. Today’s elderly may be more financially independent than their predecessors, but family still plays an important role for the elderly (Shanas, 1979).
What can this mean for the next generation? I am right at the end of the baby boomer generation and the next up and coming generation will be caring for me. Will care be more hands on, or will we have more and more ‘assisted living’ homes/centers for my generation to go to? I saw a commercial just yesterday for a ‘Senior Living’ property and they had pools, spas, exercise rooms, bars and restaurants and on and on. Seems they have multiple levels of care and expertise on the grounds so as one progresses in age, the care progresses too. Where are the families of those that ‘choose’ to go to a place such as this?
As I talk to more and more of my generation I find this: some families have many that step up to help in caring for a parent, aunt or uncle and even grandparents. There are also those families where only one steps up and takes on the ‘burden’ of caring and then some just put their loved ones into a home and walk away. Circumstances are different for every single one of these scenarios but where will we be as my generation – (some of us do not even have kids) continues to age and multiply onto the healthcare system.
I was able to find this page and some really good reading. History of caring for elders There is a nice timeline in this article to see how major advances in this subject came about. We have come a very long way from the Medieval years, but as I was searching for places for my mom seven years ago, the homes I walked into had elders sitting on couches with blankets on them and a TV on. Waiting to die is all I could muster in my mind and the decision to take in mom became a reality. We have talked about down the road as she declines will I be physically able to help her. Her mental decline seems to be increasing and this is where my problem helping comes in. I try and try but have my own issues trying to understand how the mind can go like this so quickly.
I guess the good in all of this is how far we as a society have come from medieval times to today with many good places to put a loved one. I heard a story just a few days ago though of a home that had some ‘less desirable’ caregivers, that were making mistakes that would make me fume if I saw it happening. So do your research thoroughly before you put a loved one in any place but your own home.
Peace and Awesomeness today!
Maria – The Caffeinated Crocheter