How Providing Care Affects the Caregiver

How Providing Care Affects the Caregiver

Close to twenty percent of caregivers are spouses to recipients over the age of 80. That's quite a surprise to see partners that age gives care, but they do, says a University of Washington study. The caregiver may be in need of help as well because many times, providing care to a loved one can impact a family member's health in numerous ways.

The same study, along with several others, reveals that family members are giving care report high incidences of chronic illnesses. The most common:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
     

Plus, the pressure among spousal care increases the risk of strokes by twenty-three percent, especially for men. An Indiana University-Purdue University - discovered that a partner with a serious illness could boost the couple's risk of divorce when compared to a healthy couple. The research confirms that being a caregiver for a partner may affect physical and emotional strain on the two, as well as the relationship. The researchers suggest that the people involved in the care relationship to take these proactive measures to negate damaging outcomes.

Spousal Caregiver Tips
 

  • Don't ignore your health care needs. Take the desirable steps to ensure your top physical and mental status. Be honest with yourself and if you begin to feel sick, see a doctor.
  • Learn your capabilities and know what you can handle. As a spouse, you cannot do everything alone. You need help, so ask for it. And if you can afford respite care, hire a professional home caregiver agency. It's important to know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Go to the web to research the needs of the spouse. The Internet is the place to start when seeking information and education about health conditions and how to care for them.
  • Create a team of medical professionals to assist. It's wise to build a support team that includes doctors, nurses, home care agencies, local community support, and professional caregivers.
  • It's one thing to ask, but you must accept it. Reach out to friends and family for the assistance you require.
  • Join a caregiver support group. Find people who experience the same stresses and hardships and create a network that helps you deal with caregiving.
  • Take the proactive steps to learn about chronic health conditions. Knowing more about them can significantly improve how well you care for them. Never take on more than you can manage without getting assistance. Your health is important also, and if you need care, it is vital that you get it.
     

According to a report by AARP and United Hospital Fund, the causes of why spousal caregivers receive less support is unknown.

Perhaps, partners choose to do it alone, or they feel they can do it themselves and are unaware of the stress. Sometimes, it's a financial issue. But in my estimation, it could be about the fear of losing independence.

Carol Marak
Aging
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Carol Marak earned a Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from the USC Davis School of Gerontology and advocates on behalf of older adults and family caregivers. She simpli ... Click for full bio

What's an Investor to Do When History Doesn't Repeat Itself?

What's an Investor to Do When History Doesn't Repeat Itself?

We’re in an era of extremes. It seems a day doesn’t go by without the word “historical” popping up in the financial news.

The equities market and consumer debt are at historical highs. Interest rates and high-yield credit spreads are at historical lows. We haven’t seen even a 5% pull-back in the market this year—for the first time since 1995—and the DJIA is exhibiting its narrowest trading range in history. These are indeed historical times. And whether this fact has you filled with extreme optimism or extreme pessimism, you have some important decisions to make going forward.

There are theories about how we landed in this particular era of extremes, and most are rooted in the significant changes that have impacted both how we live and how we invest. At the top of the list are globalization, automation, and the largest aging population in history (yet another “historical” to add to the list). It’s said that the most dangerous words in investing are, “it’s different this time,” yet one has to wonder if, in fact, it really is different this time. Not just because of the historical market highs. After all, there always has been and always will be a new market high waiting around the corner. What’s different today is the sheer number and confluence of these extreme highs and lows—and their duration. It’s a situation no investor has experienced before, which can make these waters feel pretty daunting. History repeats itself, and investment strategies are largely built on that conviction. But what do we do when it doesn’t? When history fails to repeat itself, how can investors plan for tomorrow with confidence that they are positioned to protect their assets and gain a reasonable level of yield?

The first step is to recognize that, at least in many ways, the investment landscape really is different this time around. All you have to do is look at the numbers to be sure of that fact. And the catalysts I mentioned before—globalization, automation, and the aging population—aren’t going anywhere. If anything, the impact of each will only grow as time moves on. What that means is that there’s no way to predict what’s coming next. The only thing we know for certain is that predictability is a thing of the past (if it ever really existed at all). The result: you need to approach your portfolio differently than you ever have before.

Your goal, of course, is to find return given a risk tolerance. Current yield is an important part of total return and getting it is an elusive proposition in today’s market. If, like many people, you’re less than confident that the four major sectors that currently drive the equities market—healthcare, discretionary, tech, and financial—are poised to continue to rise at even close to recent rates, it may be wise to seek out alternatives to help drive yield without adding more risk to the equation.

But if alternatives are the wise path forward, which alternatives are the best options?

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Business Development Companies (BDCs), and energy stocks, traditionally the favored “non-correlated alternatives,” defied expectations when the stock market crashed in 2008, inconveniently revealing high correlations just as the equities market began its freefall. Anyone who was invested in these alternatives at the time knows all too well the devastating impact “non-correlated investments” can have on a portfolio, especially when they fail to do their job when it matters most.

Luckily, there is one alternative that can be counted on to remain uncorrelated to the traditional financial markets and, ultimately, deliver that precious yield: life insurance-based investments. And because this asset is literally built on one of the irreversible catalysts of change, the aging Baby Boomer population, owning life insurance may in fact be the ideal alternative to help investors generate non-correlated returns, regardless of where the market turns next. Even better, these investments typically deliver those returns with very low volatility.

Related: 3 Reasons Alternative Investments May Be Your New Key to Success in Changing Times

What makes life insurance different is that, unlike typical alternative vehicles, secondary life insurance returns aren’t based on the economy. Instead, they are inherently non-correlated because returns are based solely on the longevity of the individual insureds.

As much as we would all love for the bull market to continue on its merry way, one thing history does tell us even today is that a bear market will come. It’s only a matter of when. As you strive to hedge your portfolios and prepare for the inevitable, life insurance-based investments are one tool that can help you achieve the three things you need most: diversification, low volatility, and yield.

Bill Acheson
Investing in Life
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Bill Acheson is the Chief Financial Officer of GWG Holdings, Inc. Mr. Acheson has over 25 years of sophisticated financial services expertise. Mr. Acheson has extensive experi ... Click for full bio