“Aisha Adkins would rather have her own place, instead of living with her parents. She would also like a job, a car, a master’s degree and savings. But at 35, a decade after graduating from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro with a specialty in social services, she has had to put off those goals.
Her mother, Rose, received a diagnosis of dementia six years ago, at 57, and cannot be left alone. Since then, Ms. Adkins has been consumed with her care. “I’ve gone on three dates in the last three or so years,” she said.
She ensures that the family’s home in an Atlanta suburb is stocked with her mother’s medications. She prepares her mother’s breakfast — peanut butter and jelly, with a glass of milk. She bathes her and dresses her and sits her in front of reruns of “The Young and the Restless.” She cooks her dinner: mainly chicken (with a vegetable and a starch), spaghetti or chili. She retires to her room around 10 — entrusting her mother to the television set and Ron, her father, by then home from work.
The burden of care for aging relatives is reshaping the lives of millions of others. About 15 percent of women and 13 percent of men 25 to 54 years old spend time caring for an older relative, according to the Labor Department. Among those 55 to 64, the share rises to one in five Americans. And 20 percent of these caregivers also have children at home.”
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