Contact the Caregiver's Army
The Caregiver's Army© is for people caring for loved ones.
Whether you are caring for a spouse, parent, or neighbor, we are committed
to helping you and your loved one. Caring for a loved one may be one
of the greatest challenges a family can experience. In the past decade,
the number of family caregivers in North America has exploded by 400 percent,
reaching into a quarter of all households. As baby boomers age and
life-spans increase, the medical and ethical issues involved in caring for
the elderly and dying will affect us at a personal and profound level.
During the past several decades we have learned how important support
groups can be in dealing with a commonly shared problem. Support groups
are a significant way of sharing faith, love, and laughter. Support
groups for older individuals and caregivers have been established around
some physical needs, usually a disease or some continuing medical problem.
Both caregiver and care receiver finds the opportunity to ventilate frustrations
and to learn from each other how better to cope with accidents, illness,
and disabilities. This need is particularly acute for families living
with such memory-loss diseases as Alzheimer's, Pick's, or Parkinson's.
The need to know what is reversible and what is not is important.
The need for affirmation, particularly when home care is no longer possible,
Children who care for their parents, or some other disabled or sick loved
one, are called the sandwich generation. Their own children are grown;
and just as they begin to look forward to more time for leisure and freedom,
they are often required to become parents to their parents. They are caught
in the middle.
Another need for a support system takes place when a loved one dies or
is placed in a nursing home. These people suffer deeply and many would benefit
if they could share their grief. Persons, such as myself, need someone
to talk to about death and dying AND living.
There are no federal programs available today for caregivers of loved
ones. The cost of medicine alone can be the deciding factor on whether
to buy food or buy the required medication. The Caregivers' Army©
wants to contact all state and federal governments. I want them to
help older Americans that don't care about the sex life of the African elephant.
Almost daily you see benefits for Aids and other disease. Have you
seen a benefit for Alzheimer's? I haven't! Daily I see commercials
on starving children in foreign countries. Have you seen a commercial
on older, starving Americans? They were once our great leaders, our
parents, our husbands, our wives; possible OURSELVES tomorrow.
Researching the cause and cure of this disease offers our best hope.
In recent years, research has yielded important discoveries. Researchers
say they are close to finding ways to slow Alzheimer's in its developing
stages. The genes associated with the disease have been identified.
And new drugs and other substances may work to slow its progression.
Much more needs to be done. We must do all we can to stop this terrible
President Clinton has identified long-term care as an important issue
for American families. He also sent the message that the government
will not be covering the high costs associated with it. The President
has proposed a four-part national long-term care initiative to begin to
address the problem.
The first part offers a $1,000 tax credit to families who are providing
long-term care services to a family member. The second-part proposes
a national Family Caregiver Support program to help families find information
and services within communities to support and train family caregivers.
The third-part of the President's proposal includes a national campaign
to educate Medicare beneficiaries about how little coverage Medicare provides
for long-term care services. In fact, sources report that Medicare
covers as little as nine percent of long-term care costs. And finally,
the President proposes that the federal government offer long-term care
insurance programs that federal employees and retirees can purchase.
Overall, the President's proposal for Long-Term Care Planning emphasizes
that protecting against long-term care costs will be an individual responsibility.
The need for long-term care can arise at any time, at any age. Does
any of this surprise you? Everything that the President addressed
is OLD news to us.
Painting by Denton Lund- http://w3.trib.com/~sjlund
© Denton Lund
Used with permission of SpiritWolf - http://www.spiritwolf52.com
for re-creation and presentation to Lady Dove.
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