I have many meetings with families that are caring for a family member with some form of dementia. While I normally collect this information ahead of time, I can spot those families without any warning from the moment I walk into the room. These are the families that look completely exhausted. That probably sounds a little cliche, but what you find in those meetings is that the family has been burning the candle at both ends to provide care, all the while living with the anxiety of what might happen to the loved one during this meeting as they are away.
Here is an article from the NY Times on the subject of caring for the caregiver. This article focuses on the subject of Alzheimer’s, but I can tell you from experience that the toll providing this care takes on the family does not discriminate. The issue with Alzheimer’s specifically is that the disease can cause the need for a caretaker for more than a decade — far longer than most things that compromise a senior’s health.
The article closes with this paragraph:
It is vital for caregivers to take good care of themselves […] by exercising, eating and sleeping properly, and getting respite care when needed.
Two additional thoughts: First, it’s vital that the other family members help care, in some sense, for the caregiver. Second, another way to reduce the anxiety is to make sure that you have addressed the financial and legal issues affecting caregiving.
Posted by Victor Medina, Medina Law Group, LLC