Excerpted from: ‘Families on the Brink:’ Roundtable Discussion on How to Help Aging Relatives
Martha Stewart, Virginia Morris Share Advice on Eldercare Issues
Stress on Caregivers
Resnick, of the Institute on Aging at the University of Pittsburgh, said the most telling statistic about U.S. caregivers was that they bear more than $200 billion a year in caregiving costs.
Bernard, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging, said that many caregivers had health problems they ignored. She said research showed that after receiving training on their relative’s disease, caregivers’ pressures and depression tended to decrease.
“Much of what caregivers’ stress results from is a sense of impotence, in addition to guilt and frustration,” Resnick said. “A lot of that impotence is, you look at mom and dad and say, ‘You’re going downhill and I don’t know what to do.'”
But, much of what caregivers interpret as downhill is fixable, he said. “Much of it is due to medications’ side effects. … Diseases undetected. … Things that haven’t been detected but for which steps can still be taken,” Resnick said. “When those steps are taken, mom and dad are nowhere near as bad off as they looked a minute ago. They are now much better and the caregiver’s stress goes down dramatically.”
Watch “Families on the Brink: What to do About Mom & Dad” this week on “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.
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