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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / Go Answer Alice /  Editorial List

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Go Answer Alice

Last week I wrote about the challenges of elder abuse.  

This week I wanted to address the other side of the issue that many of us can relate to all too well Ėcaregiver abuse. As it so often happens, an email crossed my computer which details the subject from one caregiverís point of view representing the issue in no uncertain terms:

Hi Gary,

Thank you for your article on Elder Abuse (Good Medicine For All). I am my motherís caregiver and legal guardian.  I basically do mostly everything for her. Manage medications, bring her to the doctors, shopping (groceries, personal items), balance her checkbook and pay all her bills. I also live with her in her home and cook/clean for her.

My challenge is that she has a dependency of narcotic pain meds. I have had her de-toxed and psych evaluated and the doctor in the ward explained to me that he has not ever come across anyone like my mom, being a 70-year-old woman with chronic pain and a past history of alcohol and narcotic abuse. For example (my father used to buy pills for her off the streets in addition to her normal regimen of prescribed meds) this went on for most of my teenage years. I am now 31 and still dealing with the behavior of a mother with an addictive personality among other physical issues (osteoporosis, arthritis, bursitis, abdominal aneurysm, colitis)....

It makes it extremely difficult for myself when she complains of pain and the fact that her medicines are not helping her. I know that no one should be in lots of pain and my concern is that at times I may not be fulfilling her medical needs when she needs more attention for pain management.

She just came back from the ER and the doctor says the medication she takes is not strong enough to help her pain. So here I go again with the concern of putting her back up on higher doses of narcotics and the behavior issues that come along with the addictive logic in her brain chemistry.

It is very challenging and frustrating. Last night she threatened, grabbed and shook me till I gave her another Vicodin. I then called 911 and had the hospital deal with it.

Sometimes I feel like I can't do the job. I don't like to see her in pain, I want her to be safe and I follow what the doctor says for her safety. Not everyone is always on the same page and they don't always want to hear everything I have to say.

My point is that sometimes I feel that I am the one who is abused.
Do you have any helpful information regarding this situation?

Alice, you came to the right place.

Your suggestions for Alice.


Gary Barg

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