Feminism and caregiving

Feminism saved me when I was young. I grew up with abuse from my mother and grandmother, and my reaction was not to want to be a woman. By the time I got to college, planning to major in astrophysics, my way of being was to be one of the guys. Feminism saved me from being totally male-identified--it gave me a way to accept being a woman without becoming my mother or grandmother.

As a teenager, I didn't expect that I would ever marry or have children. I married only in my early 30s, with the understanding that John and I would equally share household tasks and with a prenuptual agreement (which my lawyer now tells me will provide some protection for my assets if we need to get John onto Medicaid). So into order to find myself in this new challenge I want to think about whether there is a feminist approach to caregiving.

I did a little web searching on the topic. I may just have to track down a special issue of a journal on Fundamentals of Feminist Gerontology. The trouble is, the focus is likely to all be on daughters caring for mothers. I found one article that argues that too many studies focus on how women put their own health at risk while caregiving and asserts there should be more focus on the autonomy of older women rather than their role as caregivers. Not what I am looking for.

Norman DeLisle, MDRC
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U.S.A. Gov Helps Long-Distance Caregivers

USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal, now links to Caring from a Distance, a web site dedicated to the seven million Americans who manage the needs of seniors who live hundreds or thousands of miles away.

A CBS poll found that four in ten who have had the experience of caring for aging parents say issues involving care can be stressful and can lead to disputes among family members.

Caring from a Distance was founded to bring caregivers seeking help needed information and resources at-a-glance. Our goal is to utilize a range of communication and social networking technology to reduce caregiver stress through improved family communication.

For more information, visit cfad.org

Caregivers Find Unexpected Emotional Rewards in Tending for Family Members

Nearly 80% of family caregivers are finding the caregiving experience emotionally rewarding, despite initial negative perceptions of caregiving, according to a nationwide survey by Caring Today magazine.

Published in conjunction with National Family Caregivers Month this past November, the Caring Today survey shows that caregivers have distinctly more positive feelings after caring for a family member than they did as they were about to take on the responsibility. The number of caregivers finding the experience highly rewarding jumped by 50% following the caregiving experience.

Caring for an elder exacts financial toll

The out-of-pocket cost of caring for an aging parent, spouse or loved one averages about $5,500 a year, according to the nation’s first in-depth study of such expenses, a sum that is more than double previous estimates and more than the average American household spends annually on health care and entertainment combined.

Family members responsible for ailing loved ones provide not only “hands-on” care but often reach into their own pockets to pay for many other expenses of care recipients, including groceries, household goods, drugs, medical co-payments and transportation. That nudges the average cost of providing long-distance care to $8,728 a year.