Author Archives: Anna Beeber

The 'Burden' of Family Caregiving Never Ends...

Dec 1, 2011, 1:00 PM, Posted by Anna Beeber

By Anna Song Beeber, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar

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A common view in our culture is that residential long-term care services, such as nursing homes and residential care/assisted living communities, are a replacement for family care provided in the home. In general, older adults and families want to avoid long-term care placement, in part because they fear loss of independence, loss of a home life, and neglect at the hands of staff. Thus, a bulk of the research literature has focused on measuring, preventing and intervening to reduce the burden on family caregivers with the goal of avoiding nursing home placements.

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As clinicians, we try to work with older adults and their family caregivers to preserve function and safety, and to find the best community-based support services – all in the hopes of preventing the need for residential long-term care services and keeping the older adult in the home.

At the same time, family caregivers work hard to provide what their family members need, often at a high cost; financially in terms of lost wages, as well as costs to caregivers’ physical and psychosocial health.

All of this work to prevent the use of long-term care services can create the suggestion that, once an older adult enters residential long-term care, the system and the family caregiver have failed to meet the older adult’s needs.

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