A new study conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that it is more stressful to care for an aging spouse than an aging parent. Of the Americans polled, those caring for their spouses were most likely to report stress and weakened relationships with their partner as a result of their caregiving duties.
There are many reasons contributing to the added feelings of stress associated with caring for an aging spouse. The main reason cited in the pole was that the average age of spouse caregivers was 67, compared with 58 for people who care for an aging parent. These added years result in lower mobility and cognition for the spouse providing care. Additionally, the poll points to expectations as a reason for added stress. We are prepared to care for our aging parents, especially with the support of a spouse, but we are far less prepared to care for our spouses. This can be particularly difficult without outside support from extended family and the community. One participant, Raymond Collins remarked, “The traditional vows are through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, etc.,” he said. “At the age of 25 and 32, you say those things and you’re high on love and healthy, and life is all in front of you. The meanings of those words are pretty much lost, even when you concentrate on them.”
7 out of 10 Americans will need assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living) at some point in their lives. However, most Americans are reluctant to discuss their preferences for long term care with their loved ones. Additionally, only 30% of those polled who are likely to care for a loved one in the next five years feel prepared to do so.
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Information provided in part by: http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_289563/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=c2KQiB7G