The senior healthcare landscape has changed dramatically in the last fifteen years. The number of seniors with four or more chronic illnesses is rapidly increasing. The challenges for caregivers can be overwhelming. Forty four million people are now caring for an ill, frail or elderly parent, most of whom want to age in place. There are also the “sudden” caregivers who end up caring for a parent after a catastrophic event such as a fractured hip or an acute exacerbation of a chronic health problem.
Critical health care decisions are often made under a great deal of stress. Problems may begin to cascade and families don’t know where to turn for help. The result is often confused seniors, disorganized children and families in chaos. They are often juggling the needs of their own children, a job, and now have the added burden of a parent in decline. Time, energy and resources are in short supply.
I believe that every older adult’s unique situation presents opportunities to find creative ways of coping and adapting; ways that make them feel like they are in the driver’s seat. All too often the medical events are viewed in isolation.
For example, if they fall and injure themselves we pick them up, fix what’s broken and hope for the best. We forget to ask why it happened and how it can be prevented. The mind body connection means that thoughts, feelings and attitudes can positively or negatively affect biological functioning. More emphasis should be placed on the importance of healthy active aging. We should always ask how seniors are “living” as well as how they are doing.
When decisions are hard, problems are overwhelming and solutions are hard to find, turn to a professional who will provide a higher standard of oversight and take the heat off
We can schedule visits to work through issues as they arise, but the main focus of the visit is to discuss the effectiveness of the care plan and make modifications as needed.
This is where I can assist older adults and their families with the implementation of the care plan.