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Elder care is the term given to cover the diverse range of issues that constitute taking care of an elderly person. Elder care can also be used to describe the range of ways in which an elderly person can be cared for. People are now living longer, more active lives than ever before, and elder care is a serious issue for the people who provide it.
In America today, more than 35 million people are over the age of 65, and the life expectancy age is now 76.9 years. In America, it is estimated that at least 22 million homes have at least one person who is acting in the capacity of an elder caretaker. The caretaker is usually a family member working in an unpaid capacity. As the life expectancy age has risen, care of the elderly has become a serious issue. More and more people are spending more time caring for an elderly relative in their own home.
The person providing elder care has a vast array of decisions to make. Some of these decisions can be very sensitive in nature. They may include medical decisions such as choosing doctors. They may also be concerned with whether it would be more appropriate for the elder care to be provided in a residential or respite home.
There are also day-to-day issues to factor into elder care. Many elderly people are very active and still live in their own homes until a very late age. Home caretakers and elder care day services also come under the remit of elder care. Assisted living services and the provision of adequate nursing facilities are also considered to be under the elder care umbrella.
Caring for an elderly, disabled or mentally ill elderly person, even if it is a relative, can be stressful. Many hours must be devoted per week, and some caretakers perform their duties with the utmost devotion. Elder care does not focus only on the elderly, but also on the stress and time constraints faced by the caretaker.
Many people work full time jobs and still spend a large portion of their time caring for an elderly relative. Research has shown that a large number of work hours are lost each year due to caretakers looking after elderly relatives. Nevertheless, most caretakers perform the work tirelessly, knowing that their relatives are being well cared for.
There are many local groups and government agencies that are there to provide emotional and financial support for elder care. They can also provide information that benefits not only the caretaker, but also the recipient of elder care.