Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Family caregivers having to do more of the actual medical tasks
Michelle Singletary, author of “The Color of Money” column, has an important post in The Washington Post today, “The growing burden on caregivers”, link here.
Specifically, she is referring to the challenge many family members face in learning to perform quasi medical or practical nursing procedures or tasks, as well as “normal” physical caregiving. Hired caregivers cannot do some of these tasks (although private nurses can).
When I was looking after my own mother, who passed away at the end of 2010, the hospice did approach me about the idea of giving injections, but that did not happen. I did manage the pill boxes, however, and have all the prescriptions filled.
Another issue that might occur is the possibility that a very elderly senior could have medically active tuberculosis (detectable by scratch and blood tests and chest Xray), which could make it impossible to move into normal assisted living or hire caregivers normally.
These problems, and the challenges they create for family members (adult children as well as spouses) are partly the result of the fact that the extreme elderly can live much longer with severe disability than they could in the past. Earlier generations often saw an unmarried woman staying home and taking care of the grandparents, but usually their period of extreme need was short compared to today.