Women Carry the Weight of Long-Term Care
September 12, 2008
Nationwide evidence tells us that the long-term care burden overwhelmingly falls on the women of the family. In their youth men are generally physically stronger than women, but as they age they decline more quickly. Compounding the problem, men often cling to a machismo that causes them to deny their own mortality and to under-appreciate the catastrophic burden that old age frailty will place on their wives or children. It is not uncommon, when talking to a man about the possibility of old age decline, to have him say things such as:
- “My dad died at sixty of a heart attack–I’m sure I’m not going to live any longer than that.”
- “I won’t rust out, I’ll burn out.”
- “Before I’ll go to a nursing home I’ll put the muzzle of a gun in my mouth!”
- “I’m gonna keep going until one day I just drop in the harness.”
It seems to be a natural part of being male to assume that bad things happen to other
people, not to yourself. The result of this attitude is that the women of the family are faced with caring for more and more frail men who have either refused to purchase long-term care insurance, or refused to modify their lifestyles to minimize the possibility of chronic illness. Women are forced to exhaust their own financial and physical resources to care for their men. By the time the first spouse dies, the caregiver spouse is often depleted both physically and financially. She has no reserves as she faces her own long-term care crisis.
At Law Elder Law we not only strive to serve our client, we also strive to help rescue the embattled caregiver. Survivor spouse preservation is one of our key goals when working with a couple who are faced with nursing home challenges.
We recognize the contribution of the women who carry the burden of their own parents, their husbands’ frail parents, and/or their own husbands. We serve as allies to the heroic caregiver. We understand their burdens, confusion, anger, hopelessness, sense of injustice, fear, and loneliness. We come alongside them, so that they can find a measure of peace of mind, a caring and listening counselor, and possible financial and long-term care assistance by calling us here at Law Elder Law.