A popular book about caregiving for patients with dementia is called The 36 Hour Day. While today, the summer solstice, is the longest day of the year for caregivers in the trenches every day can feel never-ending. As it happens, today is Father's Day as well, an opportunity to talk about caregiving for aging parents, no matter what their diagnosis. A while back, PBS aired a wonderful documentary called Taking Care of Mom and Dad. You can watch it online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/caringformomanddad/. PBS is airing it again at 7:00 tonight if you'd like to watch it the old-fashioned way.
Caring for Mom and Dad does a fantastic job of highlighting so many important issues: the needs of an aging population, the stress of caregiving on families, the limited public resources available to help care for those who remain at home in their final years, and the importance of advance care planning. This is an almost silent crisis in our society, with few people aware of the challenges of caregiving - the overwhelming financial toll, as well as the emotional cost - until they are faced with a loved one in decline.
One of my colleagues Patricia Mulvey was interviewed for the program and discusses how using a Certified Geriatric Care Manager can do so much to ease the burden on families. I frequently work with care managers and couldn't agree more. They can provide a real sense of safety for families struggling to do it all alone. There are a number of other excellent resources on PBS's website fro the film. Worth having a look!
Happy Father's Day everyone. And Happy Summer Solstice. May this longest day be a happy one for all.