As part of my Caregiver Smile Summit, I have had the pleasure of interviewing more than 50 experts in the health, aging and caregiving fields. Dr. Maria Zayas, a practicing psychologist and a faculty member of the Psychology Department at Brenau University, is one of those experts. Together we explored the topic of conscious aging.
There are 66 million family caregivers in the U.S. alone; 70% are female and 25% are Millennials. Caregivers suffer worsened health than non-caregivers and 40-60% report symptoms of depression. Some caregivers, like my sister, pre-decease the ones for whom they care.
Yes, the big SIX ZERO hits me on April 29. I remember freaking out at 30 but no so much with the other decades of 40 and 50.
I have a wonderful keynote I present called, presumptuously, The Meaning of Life. I talk – and sing – about life lessons I have learned from elders, particularly those in nursing homes.
The recent PBS documentary, Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts, sounded an alarm and a wakeup call to the devastation being caused by dementia, including Alzheimer’s. As more and more people become impacted, it’s important to help family members, including children and the community-at-large, understand the disease so everyone knows how they can help.
In my recent HuffPost50 article, I wrote about things to look for when visiting older relatives during the holidays. For many, the holidays are one of the few times during the year when you get to really see how they are faring. And if you have not seen someone for say six months, declines in mental or physical health can be readily apparent.
Let’s face it. The older someone gets, the harder it is to buy holiday gifts for him or her. How many sweaters and ties do you need after all? My wife and I stopped exchanging gifts because frankly, we get what we need all year round!
In the last two weeks, I have had multiple encounters with the health care system and conversations with colleagues that shook my core, even as a grizzled 30-year health professional.
What I am about to write certainly does not apply to the whole industry. Generalizations never do. But their tone should be a warning.
A month before mom passed, I had the opportunity to attend a health care meeting at a local residential hospice. In my 15 years living in North Carolina, I had never been there and boy was I impressed. So when mom faced the need for hospice care, I immediately knew where we were going to go.