Posts Tagged ‘elderly’

Caregiving Can Take a Toll on the Caregiver

December 14, 2015

While many Seniors continue to work today well beyond the traditional “retirement age,” there are many others who are in quite the opposite situation; they are desperately in need of eldercare due to failing health. Many of these people now depend on working family members to take care of their needs.

According to recent statistics from the American Society on Aging, nearly one out of every four US households – or 22 million households -provide care to a relative or friend aged 50 or older. In addition, 40% of caregivers are also raising children and 64% work full- or part-time. The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that, on average, caregivers spend four an done-half years providing care and spend about 12 hours each week providing it.

Research suggests that the physical and emotional demands on caregivers put them at greater risk for health problems:

  • Caregivers are more at risk for infectious diseases, such as colds and flue, and chronic diseases, such as heart problems, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Depression is twice as common among caregivers compared to noncaregivers.

If you are a caregiver, don’t forget to care for yourself. Here are a few tips:

When it comes to their health, caregivers are less likely than their peers to take steps to prevent or control chronic disease. Taking care of your own health will help you to better care for your loved one longer.

  • Be wise – immunize. The CDC recommends that caregivers of the elderly get a flu shot each year, a tetanus booster every 10 years and a pneumococcal vaccination at least once.
  • Don’t neglect your health. Get a yearly check up and the recommended cancer screenings (mammogram, cervical screening, etc.).
  • Tell your doctor that you are a caregiver.
  • Tell your doctor if you feel depressed or nervous.
  • Take some time each day to do something for yourself. Read, listen to music, telephone friends, or exercise. Eat health foods and do not skip meals.
  • Find caregiver resources in your area early. You may not need their information or services now, but you will have them when you need them.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t do it all yourself. Use your family, friends, or neighbors for support. Family may help share caregiving tasks. Friends and neighbors may help with other chores.

Elderly Face Unique Substance Abuse Challenges

August 28, 2015

Older adults have many of the same problems as young people do with alcohol and other drug addictions, plus other issues unique to their age group. Estrangement from family, financial problems, and a host of regrets are nearly universal to people of all ages in recovery. But the elderly also have to deal with greater isolation and changing body chemistry. In addition, the fact that they may have even less accountability and more free time can become negative factors as well.

Treatment programs are seeing an increase in older addicts as “Baby Boomers” – the first generation to experience widespread recreational use of drugs who were born before admitting addiction and seeking help became fashionable – reach their 50s and 60s. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently held the first national forum on drug addiction among the elderly. Federal officials expect the number of seniors with alcohol and other drug problems to leap 150% by 2020.

On the positive side, older addicts who are ready to quit drinking or taking drugs are often more successful in doing so than their younger counterparts. Older clients may be suspicious of therapy, but they tend to keep their appointments. However, their therapy needs to be tailored to their needs: counselors must be respectful of their privacy and have good manners, and the sessions should be shorter and held during the day so seniors don’t have to drive at night.

About 3% of Americans seeking treatment for addiction are over age 60, but the percentage who have addition problems is suspected to be higher. A decade ago, three of four older addicts were battling alcohol abuse, but today about half have problems with drugs other than alcohol.