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CALL 6: The struggle, costs of taking care of parents; 800K Hoosiers act as caregivers

Sandwich generation caring For children, parents
Posted: 2:32 PM, May 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-30 11:58:18-04

All this week on RTV6 at 6 p.m., Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney is looking at the true Cost of Living in Indiana and how you can get ahead.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Candice Cheek, 50, works 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day as a social worker with Families First.

After work, she drives home to spend some time with her 13-year-old daughter, Angel.

As many families settle in for the evening, Candice drives to her dad’s house in Danville, Indiana.

Cheek’s father Leroy, 69, is suffering the effects of a stroke.

Cheek helps make her father’s bed, does his laundry, and makes his meals.

“He’s my daddy,” said Cheek. “He raised me, he took care of me, he put me through college.”

Candice Cheek is part of the sandwich generation—middle aged people raising children and caring for aging parents.

According to AARP, more than 840,000 people across Indiana serve as caregivers, whether it be to a sick or injured spouse, or to an aging loved one.

“That equates to about $9.5 billion worth of care, so if you were to pay for that kind of care that would mean $9.5 billion,” said Jason Tomsci, a spokesperson for AARP Indiana. “It’s tough, because between their caregiving and their own families they’re taking care of and working, that’s essentially another part time or full time job and that can burn caregivers out.”

“I do feel like I’m being pulled apart, but then there’s those few minutes at night and I feel blessed to have my dad,” said Cheek.

AARP Indiana spokesperson Jason Tomsci said chances are someone in your family will need care at some point because of an illness, an injury or simply getting older.

“You may not plan to be a caregiver right now, but you're going to be at some point," said Tomsci. “If you leave your job, you’re taking a huge financial hit for yourself. That’s a noble and honorable thing they’re doing, but there’s a big responsibility there.”

Hiring help can be expensive for families.

Cheek can only afford to bring someone in twice a week.

“He had a decent pension, so everything is private pay, so to get someone in here, it’s $20 an hour with a 3 -hour minimum,” said Cheek. “It adds up real quick.”

Cheek said her family has had to sacrifice some things to take care of her father, such as taking family vacations.

“I did make him one promise, and that was to keep him out of the nursing home,” said Cheek. “By god, I'm going to do it one way or the other."

Cheek said she would quit working before putting her dad in a nursing home.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” said Cheek with a smile.

Between working full-time, her kids and her dad, Cheek doesn’t have time for much else in her life, including time to herself.

“At night I take a bath, and float in the tub and cry a lot,” said Cheek. "I am sad for him, because it hurts me to see him like that. He wants to do so much more, and it hurts to see that.”

Cheek often stays with her dad into the evenings until he goes to sleep.

To help cut down on all the driving, she plans to move Leroy in with her and Angel.

“He was my rock, and now it’s my turn to be his,” Cheek said.

Submit your caregiving story to AARP: https://act.aarp.org/iheartcaregivers/

All this week on RTV6 at 6 p.m., Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney is looking at the true Cost of Living in Indiana and how you can get ahead.

RESOURCES:

- Making Your Home Safe for Caregiving

-Links for Caregivers (from CICOA)

CAREGIVING (General)

  • National Alliance for Caregiving www.caregiving.org
  • Today’s Caregiver www.caregiver.com  (This is a magazine that also publishes a free weekly e-newsletter entitled the Fearless Caregiver. Sign up for either pub online. Both resources are very good and very current, with a lot of idea sharing from other caregivers as well as professionals.)
  • Family Caregiver Alliance www.caregiver.org
  • National Family Caregivers Assn.,  www.nfcacares.org
  • National Caregivers Library www.caregiverslibrary.org
  • The Well Spouse Foundation www.wellspouse.org
CAREGIVING (GRANDPARENTING)
 GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
AGING (GENERAL)
 AGING (ELDERS AND DRIVING)
DISEASE-SPECIFIC SUPPORT

LEGAL SERVICES

  • Indianapolis Bar Assn (Lawyer Referral),  www.indybar.org  (317-269-2000)
  • Legal Line (free consult by Indianapolis Bar Assn) – 2nd Tues ONLY, 6-8 PM, (317-269-2000)
  • Senior Law Project (specialize in Elder Law; must meet financial eligibility), (317-631-9424)

SENIOR WELLNESS