When it comes to caring for a sick friend, sometimes our best intentions can go awry. For example, how many times have you tried to cheer someone up by minimizing their pain, illness or accident with a more devastating experience of your own? “I am so sorry that you broke your leg. I broke my leg skiing once and had to crawl to the first aid station!” Or perhaps your offer to do something on their behalf was met with, “I’m not an invalid, I can take care of myself!” The latter instance has happened to me. That is, by offering to help my sick friend without first asking if he wanted my help, I was actually making him feel more incompetent than he already felt from his illness.
If you are transitioning into becoming a caregiver or simply visiting a sick friend, you might want to brush up on caregiving etiquette by reading, “For Sick Friend: First Do No Harm,” WSJ April 13-14, 2013, C3. The article gives “10 Commandments for Conversing With A Sick Friend” that might help you avoid a very common illness known as ”foot in mouth syndrome.”
Dementia is the gradual detoriation of mental functioning that affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, behavior, and a person’s ability to perform normal daily activities. According to a study by the RAND Corporation published in the Wall Street Journal, “Dementia is one of the country’s most expensive medical conditions, costing the U.S. between $157 billion and $215 billion a year in medical care and other costs, such as lost wages for caregivers..” click here to read, “Dementia’s Cost to Nation Piles Up.”
More often than not, people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (a form of dementia) are often cared for by spouses and children. The emotional, physical and financial effects of caregiving can be devistating on the caregiver and add to significant costs and demands on our health-care system. As one caregiver noted, ”These are hidden issues that…are wiping out families. It doesn’t stop at just the person with Alzheimer’s and their spouse. It’s going to the next generation.”
This is a great question as it involves many aspects of transition, and options and solutions are as unique as the individuals and circumstances involved. From preparing meals and administering medications to managing finances and paying bills, there are multiple options to consider and solutions cannot be universally applied. Should you try to keep your parents in their own home for as long as possible or move them to a professionally managed facility while they are still able to care for themselves? What are the costs involved? How can you be sure that they are getting the best medical care and insurance coverage? In 10 Tips for Aging Parents , the author discusses the financial aspects of elder care and how to avoid some of the pitfalls. In addition to financial issues, legal issues for long-term care are discussed in How to Care for an Aging Parent. In The Dilemma of Taking Care of Elderly Parents, the author talks openly about the emotional aspects of taking care of parents while balancing your own needs, your job and your family.
Have you read any interesting articles about parental caregiving that you’d like to share? Your articles and comments are welcomed.
Here’s a quick question for you. By what year will demographics shift so that 1 in 5 Americans are over the age of 65?
[ ] We’re there now.
[ ] 2020
[ ] 2030
If you chose 2030, you would be correct. This trends raises all kinds of personal and public policy issues. How are you and your family preparing for this shift?