The market continues on its winning streak recently hitting new highs.  Some financial indicators and market watchers are urging more caution as we head into the fall, so I’ll be observing and communicating with you about economic activity that might impact us.

Caregiving is a topic that many of us understand given our roles in families.  It could be as a parent, sibling, or child of someone who needs our help in small or big ways.  This month I’ll address caregiving and some technological tools which can assist a loved one who needs support.

Impact of Caregiving

Statistics indicate that at some point it is likely that almost everyone will provide care to another adult. In America, over 65 million caregivers provide support to a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend. That works out to almost 1/3rd of the US adult population.

It was in the news recently that Jim Bouton, a Bloom High School (Chicago Heights) alum who made it to the major leagues back in the 60s passed away at age 80 after a long battle with vascular dementia. He finished his ball-playing career with a respectable ERA of 3.57.  Many may remember his tell-all baseball memoir, “Ball Four”, but I also like it that he starred in a favorite 70’s movie of mine, The Long Goodbye, with Elliott Gould.  For the younger readers, that’s a movie to watch if you’ve seen the new Quentin Tarantino movie about Hollywood.  The Long Goodbye is a noir throwback that was filmed around the time period that Tarantino’s movie seeks to recreate.  But enough about films based in Hollywood from almost 50 years ago.

Vascular dementia and other forms of brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, affects the lives of 1 in 6 people. The costs of care for those impacted runs into the trillions according to the American Brain Foundation.

Also, families and caregivers feel the influence of the disease on their own situation.  Especially for our parents who are having health problems, how best to help them get the care they need is of utmost importance.  It could be a situation where one or both of your parents are having health problems, suffering mental lapses, or just slowing down with age. The problem may not go away or get better, but there are several ways you can deal with it. First, talk with your parents and any siblings you may have.

Sometimes the best option is to have your parents move in with (or closer to) you. That way, you avoid having to use your parents’ assets (or your own) to pay for a nursing home or other facility. You won’t have to worry about your parents receiving inadequate care from strangers. And your parents will probably appreciate the gesture of love and self-sacrifice on your part. However, the cost of feeding, clothing, and caring for your parents can be high, especially if you’re forced to give up a job to be home with your parents. And don’t underestimate the emotional and psychological impact.

If your family’s loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they may need support. Help them find support groups, like those found at Alzheimers.net. Additionally, a geriatric care manager can assist to develop a client plan and coordinate care with physicians and therapists.  As an additional form of support, caregivers can consider the use of technology. Technology can alert family members in the event of a problem and promote peace of mind. Technology can also help someone living with dementia to stay in his/her home longer, which is the wish of most people.