There is a looming epidemic on the horizon: an estimated 2.9 million people with intellectual or developmental disabilities or some significant functional limitation live with caregivers who are 55 or older. As these caregivers age, what happens to those who need care? More importantly what happens to those who gave care now need it themselves? Some communities across the US have some community based services to help assist these aging caregivers with their loved ones. An article in the Wall Street Journal, “When Crisis Hits the Disabled“, outlined a particular case of a woman who had to leave her home and had to do so but find a means to care for her son that has down syndrome at the same time. The article points out that this is a growing problem but provides relatively few alternatives or solutions for other people facing similar situations besides local community support services.
Another similar tangent of this type of epidemic is the nearly the same of “Grandparents raising Grandchildren”. According to the U.S. 2000 Census, there were close to 2 1/2 million households with grandparents raising their grandchildren. No doubt, that number has increased substantially in the past seven years. Plus, the figure does not even count other relative caregivers such as people raising their brother or sister’s children or, even yet, raising their niece or nephew’s children. Fifty-seven percent of grandparents raising their grandchildren are still in the work force and 17% are living in poverty.
For a good blog on raising grandchildren, click here.