As health-care reform continues to make headlines daily, researchers from Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center have surfaced a health-care issue that’s disproportionately affecting women: It’s daughter care, the tendency for women to bear the brunt of the burden in unpaid caregiving for their aging parents. This could be particularly troubling if your parents happen to suffer from dementia, since people who develop this prevalent degenerative brain disease could require about 100 extra hours of care per week than elderly people without this diagnosis, according to a new report recently published in the medical journal JAMA Neurology.
Aging is something many women will have to acknowledge sooner or later if things don’t change. After all, women now outpace men in hours spent caregiving for their aging parents and their in-laws: Women provide nearly two-thirds of elder care, and daughters are 28 percent more likely to care for a parent than sons, according to the JAMA report.
Before you dismiss these stats — you love your parents and want to take care of them, right?! — remember that caregiving can make it difficult to work full-time, with women more likely than men to cut back on working hours, take a leave of absence, or even leave the workforce, forfeiting employment benefits like health care in the process, according to a 2014 report from the Alzheimer’s Association on female caregivers. The financial burden of caring when you really need to be working can also impact your retirement plans and affect your ability to pay for your kids’ college education, among other things, according to a representative from the Alzheimer’s Association who spoke with the New York Times.
“The best long-term care insurance in our country is a conscientious daughter,” JAMA report authors wrote of the status quo, concluding that something has got to be done to change this. Agree to agree?