Archive for July, 2007

Meridian Provides Virtual TLC for Caregivers

July 5th, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

Driving around on the abbreviated Fourth of July holiday yesterday, numerous mentions of Meridian’s Caregiver Video Learning Center prompted me take a look. This innovative program is part of the Meridian At Home program, whose slogan is “Where You Want to Be.” The video library is a great resource for caregivers, presenting key topics presented in easily digestible amounts of information. For the technically challenged, there’s a “transcript” option so you can read and/or view the information.

I’m going to share this resource with friends who are caregivers. I’m not there yet, and my mostly healthy parents are proactive in planning for this eventuality. But many of my neighbors are elderly, and we’ve watched their children struggle to provide adequate care while allowing their parents to stay in their homes as long as possible. Most have cobbled together a tenuous combination of professional home health care and family support.

One 90-year-old neighbor is cared for by a home health aide during the day and stays alone at night. Her nine children visit each weekend, according to a calendar maintained by one daughter. “Bunty” still likes to entertain, so the son or daughter assigned the first weekend is May can also expect to plan the Kentucky Derby party.

Across the street, a newly hired home health aide provides daily care for an elderly bedridden neighbor. This system was adequate until my neighbor’s husband fell ill suddenly. Their children found themselves facing hospice and end-of-life issues for their father, who just passed away. For now, the two daughters take turns spending the night with their mother, but know this arrangement can’t last forever.

There are many other stories like these in my neighborhood, devoted children caring for their parents but often stressed to the point of exhaustion. No wonder…these arrangements are subject to health crises, health aide transportation issues, and insurance reimbursement. Throw in Alzheimer’s disease or advanced dementia, and situations worsen. Any support for caregivers — video, financial or otherwise — would go along way toward improving quality of care as well as caregiver peace of mind.