Senior Assisted Living: Is Nearness the Key to Happiness?
A huge number of Americans house and care for aging loved ones, believing nearness to be the key to their family’s happiness and financial wellbeing.
But is it really? Or is this informal care arrangement costing your family more than you think?
To help you decide whether senior assisted living is right for you, today’s post reviews major research on the costs of informal care. Read on to learn how finding senior assisted living in Clinton Township, Michigan can keep you close to an aging parent while protecting you from caregiver burden.
What Does Science Say About Informal Caregiver Burden?
Numerous studies have been published assessing effects of caregiving on psychological and emotional health (Lee et al., 2001; Shaw et al., 1997; and Patterson and Grant, 2003). Research links caregiver burden to higher rates of depression, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, social isolation, and negative hormonal changes, and other forms of psychological stress.
Elders who receive informal care also tend to experience negative emotional costs. The journal of Research in Nursing & Health found that informal care recipients often experience tension between their need for assistance and not wanting to be a burden (Fast et al., 1999). Their meta-analysis identified one study where the level of informal care was inversely associated with the psychological morale of the recipient; in other words, more informal care resulted in a greater decline in happiness.
The burden of informal senior care also has physical ramifications.
According to The Journals of Gerontology, between 18% and 35% of informal caregivers perceive their health as poor (Pinquart & Sörensen, 2007, p. 126). This heightened risk of poor health is related to:
- Muscle strain, skeletal injury, aggravation of chronic illnesses like arthritis, and other pain or discomfort due to the physical exertion involved in care;
- Negative changes in health-related activities, such as diet and exercise, often due to lack of time;
- Physiological effects of psychological distress, such as depression, which further increase our susceptibility to infections;
- Changes in sympathetic arousal and cardiovascular reactivity that place caregivers at greater risk of hypertension and heart disease (Pinquart & Sörensen, 2007, p. 126).
Moreover, while most people opt for informal care because they think it’s free, the Journal of Family and Economic Issues identified a number of hidden costs, including out-of-pocket expenditures, unpaid labor, and opportunity loss.
Getting the Best of Both World With Senior Assisted Living
Finding the right senior assisted living option in Clinton Township, Michigan lets you “have your cake and eat it, too.”
With a free referral from our team, you can rest easy knowing your loved one is living in a safe, comfortable, and accessible setting, and receiving exceptional care as needed. Your mood, career, and social life will improve as you remember what free time feels time.
And best of all, your relationship with your loved one will improve. They’ll be close to home, so you can drop in any time, and your visits can focus on memory-making rather than care duties.
Visit https://www.alwaysbestcare.com/mi/chesterfield/ to learn more about our senior assisted living referral program, and to find more information about financing and insurance coverage.
Fast, J. E., Williamson, D. L., & Keating, N. C. (1999). The hidden costs of informal elder care. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 20(3), 301-326.
Lee, H. S., Brennan, P. F., & Daly, B. J. (2001). Relationship of empathy to appraisal, depression, life satisfaction, and physical health in informal caregivers of older adults. Research in nursing & health, 24(1), 44-56.
Patterson, T. L., Grant, I. (2003). Interventions for caregiving in dementia: Physical outcomes. Current Options in Psychiatry, 16, 629-633.
Pinquart, M., & Sörensen, S. (2007). Correlates of physical health of informal caregivers: a meta-analysis. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 62(2), P126-P137.
Shaw, W. S., Patterson, T. L., Semple, S. J., Ho, S., Irwin, M. R., Hauger, R. L., & Grant, I. (1997). Longitudinal analysis of multiple indicators of health decline among spousal caregivers. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 19(2), 101-109.