Caregiving and its effect on a family generated some excellent comments and areas of discussion. This subject is one that causes anxiety or some trepidation in all of us. There was a general agreement that planning and cooperation among all parties are essential. Unfortunately, it was also clear that sometimes the person requiring the care does not make this an easy situation.
One regular reader, Rick, (I love alliteration) wondered if I would ask for your thoughts on a particularly vexing circumstance involving caregiving. One of his comments included this plea for feedback:
"The challenges and plans for those who are single, widowed, divorced, and/or childless and those with minimal, absent, or unwilling families to turn to."
Caregiving when the patient is agreeable and there is an available support system of family or friends is tough enough.
Caregiving when the person needing help is alone multiplies the complications enormously. Without a willing partner, nearby family or friends available to do what must be done, living in an isolated situation places the individual in need of help in quite a bind. Medical complications, depression, and a decrease in function and mobility place that person at real risk.
I did find some websites on the Internet that I will share now. But, I bet Rick, and others in similar situations now or in the future, are looking forward to your stories, ideas, and support.
Resources for those who find themselves on their own:
* An excellent article on being an "Elder Orphan" is available here. Scroll down just a bit to get to the section that might help.
* Long Distance Caregiving has suggestions and ideas for making this a viable option, at least for a time.
* Maybe better communication about the situations with siblings will improve the availability of care.
* Childless Elders navigating their future requires real preparation. This article deals with a particular informational event, but there is plenty of general information to make it worth reading.
OK, now your turn. What ideas, approaches, or warm hugs can you offer to those of us facing a future without obvious support.