Men taking on more as caregivers for elderly parents

November 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Articles, News

The NY Times does an excellent story on a study by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Alliance for Caregivers showing that men make up about 40% of the family caregivers. This percentage is up from 1996. I know that men can make GREAT caregivers because my ex-husband and best friend has been caring for his 97 year old mother for over a year and prior to that he helped his mom care for his father who had Alzheimer’s. However, I believe that he is an exception to the rule. I have seen so many brothers, husbands, and other male family members pass such duties off to the females in the family.

The sad part of the article is that male, like female, female caregivers can get very ill from caregiving. They must take on both the emotional, the physical, and the financial burdens as do the female caregivers. I wonder if men may get even more ill because in their upbringing they are not socialized to be caregivers. Of course empathy and caring are not female characteristics, but in general we reward females for exhibiting such behaviors and make sure males know that it is not acceptable. Luckily both of my sons are like their dad, compassionate, caring, empathetic, and proud of those traits.

Reliving last year and missing my aunt

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Articles, News

You can read all you want about caregiver stress. You can intellectually understand that you have had an episode of depression, gained weight, have increased fatigue, and your body was so depleted you had to have rotator cuff surgery. So what else could impact you from being a primary 24 hour caregiver? With the holidays coming, every night as I try to fall asleep, I think about where I was and what was happening with my aunt. This was close to the week where she had a breakdown and she and I decided it was time for 24 hour care other than us. She had 1 month or so of taking care of herself except for some medical care needed. Then our euphoria led us to let her go to long. She was rushed to emergency on my trip up to WA. She had delusions about what was happening in the hospital. She seemed defeated. It took all of my energy and love for her to bring up the 24 hour care. Her daughter did not agree. Thankfully, the doctor would not let her go without knowing she had trained care. I made sure that my cousin setup for one of those buttons and for 24 hour care. I left for Thanksgiving so the family could salvage whatever there was left of family time. Next week, would be the week I went up and did not leave until it was time to get pictures for the service. I feel haunted by those last months right now. I miss her. I can only imagine what it would be like to be a caregiver for longer than 8 months. I would recommend that anyone who has been a caregiver for any length of time for someone who died to get psychological help. I recommend that anyone who has been a caregiver get support because just the act of caregiving can compromise one’s health. Anyone else out there have similar experiences with thinking back to what you were doing this time while caregiving?

California Governor proposes cuts to in-home caregivers and taxes on veterinary care

November 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Articles, News

One of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s proposals would be to cut wages and services to disabled persons in the state. According to the Press, this would save the state $100 million in an effort to reduce the state deficit. It appears that we are trying to cut the deficit on the backs of those who are in need, not find ways to cut the deficit on the backs of both the haves and the have nots. I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think that cutting the wages of caregivers.

Another one of Schwarzenegger’s proposals is to lump furniture and appliance repair service taxes with veterinary service taxes. In my mind, this would be like taxing human medical services. As someone who just paid $4000.00 for surgery on my dog and am still paying for services related to the illness, I can honestly say that if I had to pay much more, I would either not get medical treatment for my dog or put her down. Anyone who has a pet knows that many medical treatments of his/her pet costs similarly to a human treatment. I know that the Governor runs in the Show Horse Jumping circles. Maybe those people can afford the a tax on their veterinary service but no the everyday person. As MarketWatch points out, the CMVA is concerned about the costs for treating shelter dogs also. All Californians with pets need to write to their legislators and the governor.

Costs to family caregivers of the chronically ill

November 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Articles, News

According to AARP, the value of family caregivers financially to society is growing tremendously. From 2006 to 2007, the costs increased by 7 %. Family caregivers are providing a valuable service to society. The Wall Street Journal article on Nov. 20, 2008 cites a representative of AARP in stating that there needs to be an increase in funding for the National Caregiver Support Program I also think that the program needs to be expanded for family members caring for family members under 60. We need to start pushing our legislators for more recognition for the contributions (financially, and life sacrifices) of family caregivers.