Posts Tagged caregiver
Have you ever considered the complex job of being a caregiver for an elderly individual? Did you know that in the United States, the vast majority of care that allows older people to live at home is provided by family members?
Imagine this scenario: you are an older adult, doing all the caregiving for a spouse with dementia. You are trying to keep your life-long partner at home. You have adult children, but they live hours away, or in a different state. Your spouse with dementia can no longer drive, manage finances, or cook. Your spouse is now having trouble with simple tasks, like showering. To make things more complicated, you just found out you have stage 1 cancer. Can you manage alone? Can you afford paid help? Are you able to ask others for help? Below are some of the many tasks caregivers provide.
-provide personal care (i.e., helping with a shower)
-do household chores (clean dishes, do laundry & vacuum)
-run errands (grocery shopping, purchasing supplies, clothing)
-manage all aspect of finances
-complete yard work, and home maintenance
-provide transportation (ie, to the doctor’s office, to church, to the pharmacy)
-keep a calendar up-to-date (this can become complex depending on the diagnosis)
-coordinate or arrange volunteer or paid services (i.e., sitters)
-take time to provide companionship (i.e., going for a ride to get a favorite treat)
-shop for birthday or holiday gifts for other family members
-do end-of-life planning (i.e. creating a Living Will, updating legal documents, or even pre-planning funeral arrangements)
Some caregivers do all of this, with no help at all. It is easy to see how a spouse who is elderly, could easily become anxious, over-whelmed, depressed, and sheer exhausted- placing their physical or mental well-being on the “back burner”. Let us all take the time to reach out to the elderly we see at our place of worship, in our neighborhood, through or work, or in our extended community and ask how they are doing? Could they use some help? Or perhaps don’t ask, just bring over some cookies and start a conversation to show you care.
This is an article about a woman who wanted to file a claim against a nursing home and her experience. It can be very difficult to prove the case of abuse and neglect in a long-term care facility without the use of technology (a video camera) because while abuse occurs, falls and other incidents of accidents also occur. While it can be challenging for a family member to prove abuse, it can be even more so, to prove neglect.
In this article, a case is described where a man with dementia who had a history of wandering was placed in a nursing home, only to die within a month of complications from dehydration. Is it possible the CNAs didn’t offer him enough to drink? Yes, this is possible. But did you know, some dementia patients who pace burn many calories (causing significant weight loss), while at the same time refuse to eat or drink enough to survive? Many patients with dementia who pace could use the benefit of additional calories through a feeding tube (G-tube), but they are so restless or agitated, that in some cases a G-tube can’t be inserted due the the dementia patient being at high risk for pulling it out.
Monitoring the delivery of good patient care can be challenging. I would like to hear your thoughts on this issue.
Do you have anyone in your life who has dementia or Alzheimer’s? On This American Life podcast, you will hear the story of a family who has decided to venture into the world of Alzheimer’s disease on grandma’s terms. Instead of trying to bring her into reality, they are attempting to live in, and play out her reality. It is an interesting story.
This is a very short clip about Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie. Muhammad Ali has Parkinson’s disease and Lonnie remains his faithful caregiver. She says she relies on her faith to help her and she stresses the importance of good relationships with doctors. AARP has provided terrific links on this page regarding caregiving.
Even thought this article 10 years old, it is still relevant. For seniors, the desire to volunteer, or to continue to give to others appears to actually increase life expectancy. A scientific study was conducted and found this to be true. It found that people who were primarily on the “receiving” end, did NOT live longer. Those who were “givers” tended to live longer.
Note- a “giver” was not defined as a caregiver for someone with a serious illness like Alzheimer’s. Those caregivers who give and give tend to burn out, and actually have more health problems. Interesting.
The Wise Old Man.
This poem is taken from another site and is quite inspirational. (Scroll down on their site for the full poem. Its worth the read.)
It is called “Cranky Old Man”. It is a good reminder for all who work with seniors to remember the young person inside– to always give the respect and honor that is due… to remember the life they once had. If caregivers ONLY see the senior as an “old” person who is helpless and even difficult to care for at times…then care giving will be ten times more challenging. But, when you consider the person they have been MOST of their life, (prior to getting frail and sick) then you have a fresh and much healthier perspective. You can then see the senior for who they are….. someone who is unique, special, and deserves good care. Someone, at a different time and place…you might have been really great friends with.
Have you ever known an older adult who battled cancer? An individual with cancer often experiences a full range of emotions: shock, fear, anger, bitterness, confusion and depression. There are two main ways to support your family member, friend, or co-worker who has cancer. The first, is to give emotional support and the second (and just as meaningful), is practical help.
Individuals with cancer are uncertain about their future, are unfamiliar with the health care professionals and treatments, and experience increased isolation as they may miss work or community functions in which they were previously active. Read the rest of this entry »