Caregivers are seen as one of the modern day heroes. There has been many articles written on how difficult their life could be in exchange for high paychecks where their time for their family, friends and themselves are spent mostly with their elderly patients in homes. However, some of these caregivers are closer to home and are not trained in the strenuous life. In fact, they did not ask for the job, the job came to them.
Take Eva Bonilla’s circumstance for example. After a fire that took away her parents home, possessions and her mother, she was faced with the decision to take care of her 85-year old father, Jesse Sandoval. A World War II veteran and hero whose local neighborhood park was named him after, and who did not want his children to take care of him but the experience proved humbling for the family until Sandoval’s death in 2010. Eva Bonilla and Jesse Sandoval’s situation is just one of the many families out there who have to face the decision that home care can sometimes be the only option for them. However, this would require more complex care.
This is due to the increasing growth of the elderly population hence an increase in demand in long-term care. According to the Department of Aging and Disability Services, there is an estimated amount of 2.7 “informal” caregivers in Texas alone who fall under this demographic, who are mainly family members. Taking up a huge chunk of that statistical number are middle-aged women and half of them are employed in jobs outside of home. Soon, everyone may be like Bonilla, taking care of their aging parents at home and unlike the caregivers in retirement home, she and her brother were not trained nurses or caregivers.
According to Lloyd Potter, the state demographer of Texas, this is because when parents grow older and start to need care, the job is being delegated to their children. However, if a person lives longer majority of this life is spent with a disability meaning their require addition and more specialized care depending on what their disease is. In addition to that, the Congressional Budget Office adds that about 80% of elderly people receive their long-term care in the homes of their families while the remaining 20% live in nursing homes.
One of the big risks of those who opt for home care is the juggling of work and care. Such was the problem of Bonilla when she took time to serve as her father’s caregiver. Aside from being an employee from a pharmaceutical company, she also had a family to take care of.
Therefore there have been advocacy groups who have been pushing for a legislation that requires hospitals to provide demos for families who are opting to purse the in-home care instead of leaving their elderly loved ones in nursing homes. These would include basic medical tasks like bathing and dressing of injuries. So far, Oklahoma and New Jersey have passed laws such as these.