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18 Fearless Years
Caregiver.com

 

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief Peace of Mind

I had lunch recently with a friend who brought her co-worker, Andrea, to join us.  I didn’t mind at all. In fact, we had a really nice conversation. Andrea had a caregiving story that is a twist on a lot of the conversations I have with family caregivers. Her parents are in their mid-eighties. Bill, her dad, is relatively healthy; but her mom, Mary, is living with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She is somewhat frail and is being cared for by Bill.  They live across the country from Andrea in a rural yet coastal town.  Her dad (of course) is a tough and rugged individual who does not even want to broach the subject of having any help in the house as he cares for his wife of 60 years. To his great credit, he has crafted together a small band of townsfolk who bring them food and stop by on occasion, but not on any specific schedule.  He still runs the family business in town, so is away from home most of the day.  Andrea, who is tearing her napkin into shreds as she relates this story, repeats a phrase that I hear often when talking with caregivers:  peace of mind.  She (and even her dad) have very little of it as they worry about their loved one almost every day. The old rambling house that Bill has so lovingly kept up over the years, and in which Mary raised Andrea and two siblings (also living across the country), is now a potential house of horrors with multiple opportunities for falls and accidents.

According to the Milken Institute, 46 million Americans will be over the age of 65 by 2015; 90 percent of them plan to stay in their homes for as long as possible.  Andrea’s family is among this 90 percent.  They would love to make sure they are able to keep Mary at home with Bill for as long as possible. The first thing they need to do is make sure that the house that was once perfect for a young active family is now modified to be able to keep Mary as safe and secure as possible.  Among the most important technologies helping this aging-in-place population are personal emergency reporting devices. You may not be able to prevent all falls and accidents, but the best possible outcome for any senior fall or accident is fast action. 

I have heard far too many stories about senior loved ones who have fallen in an unprotected home and had to wait sometimes days for anyone to find them. Making sure that your house is modified to prevent slips, falls and accidents is essential; but if emergencies do happen, speed is indeed your friend. The sooner you know there is a problem and the sooner that your loved one can get medical attention (if necessary), the better the outcome will be.  And that, my friends, is what they call peace of mind.

 

 
  Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief
Today's Caregiver magazine
gary@caregiver.com
 
Friday October 5, 2012

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