St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Spirituality and Wellness
Care Giving at Home for Your Parents
Led by Lisa Zglinicki
Sunday, October 20, 2002
Lisa Ziglinicki led the group in a discussion about the state of care giving at home for the elderly or disabled parent. The group first viewed a video on this topic. It was noted that we would soon be living in an age where there will be more parents than children.
The first example on the video was the case where the husband contracted a rare brain virus. The couple had been married for over thirty-two years and the wife was committed to taking care of her husband at home as long as she could. This was both a physical and financial strain on the family as there was no supplemental funding available to the couple as long as he remained at home. The next example was the case of a grandmother who had faithfully provided for her family over the years. She subsequently suffered a stroke and needed twenty-four hour care. There were a number of children who could have contributed to her care taking, but only three of them actually ended up as caregivers. To ease the burden on the children, the grandmother was rotated every few weeks between each of the caregivers. This put an extra strain on the grandmother since she never felt like she could really settle in one place. However, once again, with no financial aid from either Medicare or Medicaid available to the family as long as the grandmother was being cared for at home, there was no other choice but to share the burden.
In yet another case involving a Hopi Indian family, the situation was a bit different. There was a pickup truck accident in which a middle-aged lady was paralyzed over most of her body. She was cared for by various family members. It was interesting to note that a total of five generation participated in the care giving. There was also special funding available through the government to help pay for the special equipment needed to transport and care for the paralyzed patient. In another case of a grandfather who contracted Alzheimer’s disease, his family also decided that they would care for him at home. He couldn’t remember his son’s name and he would tend to wonder off and get lost if left unattended. His grandchildren have had to learn to accept him for the way he is. There are multiple victims in this case, the grandfather and the caregivers. The next situation involved a middle-aged woman who had a very difficult situation. Her mother was eighty-five and had recently suffered a stroke. Her father was over ninety and somewhat feeble. Finally, her sister had been blind and retarded since birth. In this case she did receive some help with respite care. There are also adult daycare centers that can offer similar services. The caregivers are extremely appreciative when someone can give them a break or do something as simple for them as get them a cup of coffee or tea.
There was then group discussion about the video. Our system does not seem to provide sufficiently for those who opt to care for an ill or disabled family member at home. It would seem like this should be a less expensive route for our society to pursue this type of care giving as opposed to only compensating when an individual is institutionalized. It was noted that there is a “passport” program in the state of Ohio, which does assist home care providers, but it is very limited in scope. It can be difficult getting medications paid for let alone assistance for home care! There is no one solution. Everyone and every case is slightly different. Some adults don’t cope well at all in daycare situations. Little things can help give relief to the caregivers and make their lives more pleasant. This is something that the congregation could help out with as our population continues to age.