This article is the third in a series of three columns on aging and technology. See the Nov.–Dec. 2013 and Jan.–Feb. 2014 issues of Aging Today for stories on high-tech connections between generations and empathic design.
Though many of us may not realize it, someone in our office, on our block or at our child’s school faces significant challenges daily as a family caregiver. Family caregivers, an integral part of the interdisciplinary care team, need and deserve respect, access to support services and community resources and work-schedule flexibility.
Carol Levine’s stores of energy serve her well in her full-time position as director of the Families and Healthcare Project at United Hospital Fund in New York City. There, through research, publications, a website and collaborations with healthcare and community providers, she raises awareness about the importance of family caregivers and their connection to healthcare systems.
An HIV-positive friend of mine who is gay attends a conservative church. He has been a member of this congregation for more than 40 years, really likes the people and is dedicated to his beliefs. Yet the other day he told me that he sometimes feels invisible there. When his family visits, the pastor publicly acknowledges them, but seems to forget to mention my friend’s name.
My sisters and I are long-distance family caregivers for our 93-year-old mother. She lives in an assisted living community, having been displaced from her home of more than 50 years by Hurricane Sandy. We have already experienced this profound caregiving journey, having cared for our dad—with my mother and four homecare aides—for nearly seven years before he died five years ago at age 94.
FallsTalk and FallScape are innovative programs developed with support from the National Institute on Aging that address the difficulty of changing well-entrenched behaviors. Learn about these interventions in our workshop, "Falls Prevention: Can We Do More with an Individualized Behavioral Approach?"
Despite the fact that state Long Term Care Ombudsman programs have existed for several decades, many people in the senior serving community remain unaware of the core functions of these vital programs and the many ways in which they have evolved to meet the needs of today’s seniors.