Don’t forget about the health of the caregiver

Elderly mother with her daughter

FALLBROOK – There have never been as many Americans over the age of 85 as there are today, and by 2035, the 85 and older group will have doubled.

There have never been as many Americans in later middle age as there are today that are responsible for their parents, and by 2035, the youngest of those baby boomers will be celebrating their 70th birthday.  

How are they going to do it?  If they have ever gone to the doctor with their elderly parent, has the physician talked to the caregiver about how they’re doing?  Have they been asked “Are you eating and sleeping well” or “Who is going to take care of Dad if you’re not able?”  

Doctors are used to referring patients to medical specialists all the time but with society growing older, doctors and the caregivers themselves, must learn about all the non-medical referrals available.  Can the doctor refer them to community agencies, geriatric care managers, elder care attorneys, trustees, etc? It takes more time from the doctor, but it is oh so necessary.

As the older parent or spouse becomes dependent on their caregiver, they fight their lack of independence even as it becomes inevitable. The older person is grateful for the devotion the caregiver gives but they are still resistant. Elders become embarrassed by their inability to do things that used to be commonplace and they may be frightened by what lies ahead but nothing is worse than being a “burden.” And these feelings in the elder parent or spouse are what make the caregiver’s job so difficult.

They can learn more about how to care for themselves and their loved ones from people experienced in how to age well. The RN Geriatric Care Managers at Innovative Healthcare Consultants are experienced in all areas of aging.

While the number of geriatricians grows fewer every year the need to consult with a Geriatric Care Manager becomes more important.  They can advocate for the older person and the caregiver.  They recognize the signs of a caregiver that is “on the brink” of despair.     View www.innovativehc.com or call to speak to an RN Geriatric Care Manager at (760) 731-1334. They are available to help make everyone’s life more manageable.  

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