Being a family caregiver can be both a full-time job and life’s sole purpose during its duration. One thing is certain, though: The cycle of life continues, and loved ones die.
In the U.S., victims of elder financial abuse can lose a cumulative sum of about $3 billion a year, according to Bob Blancato, head of the Elder Justice Coalition and expert in the Caregiver Smile Summit.
And guess what? That is a low estimate. Another study reveals up to $36 billion in losses. As the population of aging people grows so do fraud and abuse.
Kristi Nelson is the executive director of a Network for Grateful Living. I was particularly interested in the topic of gratitude because – of all the traits I observe in older adults living a quality life – that one consistently rises to the top.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lori Bitter, author of The Grandparent Economy, for our Caregiver Smile Summit. We explored the growing phenomenon of the Club Sandwich Generation, typically boomers taking care of older parents while also caring for Millennial kids and often grandchildren.
As part of my Caregiver Smile Summit, I have had the pleasure of interviewing more than 50 experts in the health, aging and caregiving fields. Dr. Maria Zayas, a practicing psychologist and a faculty member of the Psychology Department at Brenau University, is one of those experts. Together we explored the topic of conscious aging.
There are 66 million family caregivers in the U.S. alone; 70% are female and 25% are Millennials. Caregivers suffer worsened health than non-caregivers and 40-60% report symptoms of depression. Some caregivers, like my sister, pre-decease the ones for whom they care.