July 18th, 2011
Having reported on caregiving earlier this year, I was interested to hear this NPR piece on family caregiving this morning. It looks at the issue of caring for a family member in light of AARP's new report on the monetary value of family caregiving. Many of us haven't had to think about this yet, but increasingly the Baby Boom generation is thinking about it, and in many cases already caring for ill or elderly parents. I thought the piece ended with an excellent idea - check it out to see what I mean. The main thing that struck me about this story, though, was the comments. Clearly this is a topic people feel strongly about. Some commenters seem to think society has lost its moral bearings, that voicing even one doubt or grumble about the caregiving routine shows how selfish people have become. But caregiving IS a grind for many. Caregivers are entitled to feel exhausted, depressed and angry at times. An (apparently) totally selfless attitude may have been the norm decades ago, when women, and it is largely women who do this, didn't work outside the home and were expected to perform the role of carer/nurse simply because of their sex. But for many in the 21st century life is a lot more complicated as work, family commitments and long-distance travel are thrown into the caregiving mix. I'm sure some of these commenters would have been horrified by my piece on paid family caregivers. I'm glad to have reported on such an emotional topic.