June 19, 2008
The emotional landmines of family caregiving
(Page 2 - Previous Page)When caregivers are unwilling to entertain the notion of outside assistance, table the subject for another day. Press the issue only when the health or safety of the caregiver or elder is at risk. Sometimes engaging a third person to make the suggestion is more acceptable to the older person, especially if the third person is the senior's peer or an authority figure. Parents often balk when adult children tell them what to do.
Explain that assistance is merely a means to help them carry on longer than they might otherwise be able to do.
Before suggesting outside help, gather resources, Web sites, and phone numbers of community services. The Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov is a free directory-assistance public service that helps locate support groups, respite care, transportation, adult day care and more.
Dr. Rachelle Zukerman, a Fulbright scholar and gerontologist, is the author of the 2003 book "Eldercare for Dummies."
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