Months after Terri Corcoran married in 2000, her new husband began to show signs of fatigue and memory loss.
By 2004, Corcoranâ€™s husband, a former laser scientist in his early 70s, had been diagnosed with a rare genetic brain disorder. This once-independent person could not speak and needed help eating and using the bathroom.
With his children unable to offer day-to-day help, Corcoran, 60, became her husbandâ€™s lifeline.
Last year, she spent $78,000 of their savings on his care. She also retired from her job.
â€œI have to care for him full-time,â€ she said from their Virginia home. â€œNow I feel like Iâ€™m the CEO of a corporation built to do nothing but that.â€
While the circumstances of Corcoranâ€™s marriage may not be common, her role as an elder caregiver is.
An AARP study published last week showed that, in 2009, one in four U.S. adults helped to care for an elderly family member or friend. That volunteer work, according to the study, was worth an estimated $450 billion.
â€œBeing a caregiver is becoming a fact of life,â€ said Susan Reinhard, senior vice president for public policy at AARP. â€œItâ€™s the new normal.â€
But that new normal shouldnâ€™t take people by surprise.
Alzheimer’sÂ Orlando Home Care counselors at Partners in Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing Home Care in Orlando.