As the dangers of congregate living during the extended SARS-covid-19 public health crisis become widely known, more of us may attempt to care for older and disabled family members at home. Dementia is the leading primary diagnosis of older people who are cared for at home. Many people with other primary diagnoses are also cared for by family. There are support groups. There is respite. But there is not enough basic information and guidance.
Helpful resources for caring for an elderly relative at home
Geriatric case managers and Area Agency on Aging case managers can make assessments and recommend available resources.
Family members can take online classes.The American Red Cross classes: www.redcross.org/take-a-class/learn-about-our-programs
A Place for Mom videos: www.aplaceformom.com/blog/free-online-family-caregiver-courses-and-training
Dr. Muriel R. Gillick’s newly published The Caregiver’s Encyclopedia: A Compassionate Guide to Caring for Older Adults (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020) is a welcome addition. It can both be read cover to cover and dipped into for information and how-tos as new situations arise. Dr. Gillick encourages us to prioritize among independence, comfort and longevity and use this to guide care choices. She provides practical, easy to follow guides to chronic care at home and acute care at home with salient and nuanced examples. She introduces us to the many people involved in elder health care and how to work with them and helps us navigate the system.
Dr. Gillick treads less firmly with regard to government benefits, finances and advance directives. These deficits can be remedied by a discussion with a Texas elder lawyer.
Watch for The Garrett Law Firm’s upcoming three-part series on medical, practical and legal aspects of caregiving at home.
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.