Posts Tagged caregiving

Caregiving for the elderly

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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.

PRIMARY CAREGIVERS:

-provide personal care (i.e., helping with a  shower)

-do household chores (clean dishes, do laundry & vacuum)

-run errands (grocery shopping, purchasing supplies, clothing)

-cook

-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.

 

 

 

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Human Connection- It’s Vital

This is one of the most touching videos I have ever seen.  It reminds me that there are so many people in our community that are lonely (particularly seniors who live alone) and how much a human connection means.  We all need to “adopt” someone like Dan.

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Caregiving in the US -2009 Statistics

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Source: Acknowledgements – Caregiving_in_the_US_2009_full_report.pdf

Are you a caregiver or know someone who is?  Caregiving for another person, whether it be a child or adult can take a great amount of physical and mental energy.  The stress of being a caregiver is sometimes overwhelming.  The latest statistics that I am able to locate on this topic is found at the above site.  Even though it dates back to 2009, it provides very detailed information for those who want to learn more about this topic.  The research was conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving, in collaboration with AARP.  It was funded by Metlife.

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Working Together to Care for Mom or Dad

Advice for Adult Siblings to Provide Care for Elderly Parents – AARP.

Are you a caregiver for an elderly parent?  Perhaps you are a senior yourself, caring for an aged sibling…  This article from AARP was written by a man who moved his aging mother from Florida to an apartment near his home in Pennsylvania.  The author of this article is the older of two brothers and there is a disagreement between the two siblings as to how much care their mother needs and who should provide the care.  Dealing with these issues over their mother’s care has caused the resurfacing of some childhood dynamics.

A few terrific points have been made:

  • Remember the stakes are high- when siblings work together the aging parent will receive better care
  • Beware of reversion- try to see your sibling as an adult and don’t revert back to relationship patterns of early family life (work together as a equally respectable team, recognizing each others’ strengths)
  • Shelf the sexism- sons are capable of providing good care to an aging parent (don’t expect your sister to always be the caregiver)
  • Equality is unrealistic and possible inefficient- it may be one adult child is doing a large part of the care giving or decision making for an aging parent, but there are very real and helpful ways for other adult siblings to help out throughout the year (even if they live in another state)
  • Be kind to one another- its okay to vent caregiving frustrations to a sibling, but always be respectful in doing so, and thankful for what others have contributed as well
  • Advice is easy to give, but hard to implement- it is easy to say we “should do this”, but sometimes very difficult to implement… know that caregiving can be very stressful and being able to talk about it openly, respectfully (especially when there is a challenge) is a journey

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Video: Caregiving for the Champ, Muhammad Ali

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Video: Caregiving for the Champ, Muhammad Ali and Parkinsons Disease – AARP.

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.

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Memory Loss Myths & Facts From the Alzheimer’s Association

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Memory Loss Myths & Facts | Alzheimer’s Association.

Do you know someone who has Alzheimer’s disease?  Do you want to learn more about the disease?  There is a tremendous amount you can learn through this site:  http://www.alz.org

There are many things that are believed to cause Alzheimer’s.  Things such as eating out of aluminum pots and pans, getting a flu shot, or having metal fillings in your teeth.  Much research has gone into these possible causes over the years.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, none of the above cause Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s continues to be a tragic diagnosis affecting millions throughout the world.  There are medications that can slow the progression of the disease for 6-12 months, but none that can offer a cure.  For more about this disease and the myths surrounding it, visit the above web site.

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Seniors as Caregivers for Adult Children with Down Syndrome

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Down syndrome caregivers face new challenges as they age – USATODAY.com.

As those with Down Syndrome age, so do their parents. There is a phenomena where those with Down Syndrome age rapidly in their “middle age” years. Often, they are aging at the same time as their senior parents. An elderly parent may or may not outlive their child with Down Syndrome. If they outlive their child with Down Syndrome, they may face an enormous loss, because they have never experienced an “empty nest”. Their child may have lived at home for up to 60 plus years.

If a child with Down Syndrome outlives both parents, he or she will have to transition into a new home and routine; being cared for by a sibling or a group home. After being in the same environment for so many years and having a routine they are incredibly used to (along with the grief of loosing a parent), is it easy to understand how there can be tremendous anxiety, sadness and stress. This was a very interesting article.

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