“In many cases, people will be spending more time and resources caring for their aging parents than they did raising their own children.” – Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP CEO
by Richard Harris | NextAvenue
“To understand the caregiving crisis in this country, consider the seaside town of Boothbay Harbor, Maine. There, the average age is 53, giving it a demographic distinction: it’s one of the oldest towns in the oldest county (Lincoln) in the oldest state (Maine) in the Union.
“And because the needs of the elderly in rural Maine far outstrip the supply of caregivers, Miri Lyons is exhausted.
“The 35-year-old Boothbay Harbor home-care worker logs a combined 54 hours a week as a personal support specialist, caring for adults with physical disabilities, and as a direct support professional, caring for an 89-year-old woman. Another four days a week, Lyons is a family caregiver, tending to the needs of a stepdaughter with severe epilepsy.
“At a national caregiving conference I attended this month in Washington, D.C., Lyons broke down while describing the lack of caregivers available to spell her for a few hours or replace her just for a few days: ‘You can throw money at respite care and paid time off, but if there aren’t caregivers to replace me, then I don’t feel comfortable taking the time off,’ said Lyons.”