“Looking after the health of another human being is an enormous amount of work,” says Stefania Shaffer, author of “9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent,” an indispensable new guidebook for those who find themselves thrust into this unenviable role. “From administering medications to bathing and feeding to providing emotional support in very difficult times, it’s a 24/7 position—one that is unpaid and often very thankless.”
Although the health of the person requiring care is always at the forefront, the well-being of the caregiver often goes ignored, and that includes not only physical wellness but psychological and financial health. According to the Caregiver Action Network:
* 47% of working caregivers use up most or all of their own savings on caregiving expenses.
* Women caregivers are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty.
* The services caregivers provide are valued at $375 billion per year—though none of them see a penny of it.
* Caregivers report unusually high rates of depression, poor eating and exercise habits, and overall fair to poor health.
“On the other hand,” notes Ms. Shaffer, “there can be positive changes in the caregiver’s life as well. Helping my mother to navigate her last years made me a more effective and proactive advocate for her and for myself. Most of all it gave me priceless time with my mom, leading to a closeness we might not otherwise have experienced.”
In “9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent,” Ms. Shaffer shares the touching and often heartwrenching anecdotes and invaluable lessons learned from caring for her eighty-five-
Stefania Shaffer currently resides in Northern California. This is her second book. Her first, Heroes Don’t Always Wear Capes, was a novel about extraordinary teachers who become heroes for a student. Both are available at amazon.com/kindle/