Are You Seen?
In the United States some 43.5 million people are caregivers to adults over the age of 50 who have chronic health conditions or dementia. Sometimes the motivation for caregiving is love or duty but other times it’s because there’s no other choice. Families are busy, geographically spread out and, in some cases, not interested in seeing the burden one parent faces in caring for the other parent. Financial constraints, lack of long term care beds and not wishing to impose on others or face a transition may also hide caregiving overload.
Regardless of the reason, Dr. Ronald D. Adelman, co-chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, says that there is a crisis in caregiving that needs to be dealt with. In years past, family physicians had a list of medical referrals always at the ready. With an ever aging society, physicians must build lists of non-medical referrals such as support groups, community services, lawyers who specialize in elder care, visiting nurses and so on.
Are you a caregiver? Make an appointment with your family physician and have an honest discussion about your health – physical, emotional and psychological. Be proactive and ask for referrals. Make certain your family understands the reality of your life and don’t be afraid to ask for help. An afternoon or weekend away from responsibilities can do wonders for the soul. Remember – if you aren’t in good health, you can’t care for anyone else.