Family caregivers are the ruptured discs on the spine of America’s long-term care system. Why? Well let’s look at the numbers.
It is estimated by AARP that approximately 65.7 million caregivers make up 29% of the U.S. adult population providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. 43.5 million of adult family caregivers care for someone 50+ years of age and 14.9 million care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia
They work unpaid; because this is not caregiving to them- it’s family.
The free loving care they give gift to the GNP is staggering. Family caregiver services were valued at $450 billion per year in 2009- up from $375 billion in year. At $450 billion in 2011, the value of informal unpaid caregiving exceeded the value of paid home care, more than total Medicaid spending in 2009, as much as Wal-Mart sales ($408 billion) , wrap your head around that –and nearly exceeded total expenditures for the Medicaid program in 2009 – all donated for free to the long term care system- which means it’s crumbling.
Circle of Care
One resource that a GCM can bring to a caregiving family is ,what Gail Sheehy calls a “circle of care” .This circle may be broken. To create this supportive connection, the GCM needs to use her or his GCMcoaching skills and put together a support system around the perhaps isolated and unsupported family caregiver. The care manager needs to reorganize the family, so adult siblings can share in the care of the older client .You the GCM are what Sheehy calls a “ compassionate coach” who can help the beleaguered caregiver attract and assemble a platform to keep on giving the care she or he wants to give the aging parent.
Blog 1 Aug 6th Tools to Relive Family Caregiver
A geriatric care manager ‘s assessment of the family caregiver is critical. Caregivers can and do fall apart. But what tools do you use to solve the caregiver problems you found in your care plan?
If you already did your caregiver assessment- great. But the extended family of the care receiver (client) should be assessed to find their strengths, weaknesses, dangers and real ability to help render caregiving services
Using a tool called a genogram can really show you the family on a page. A good genogram can be helpful in assessing the care receiver’s family support network and each relative’s relationship to the older client. Your genogram when paired with a psycho social assessment, can help you assess whether the older client is living with a helpful spouse or partner, living with a difficult spouse, has relationship with an ex spouse, has cooperative and supportive children or grandchildren, has fighting or alienated children or grandchildren, has warring or alienated stepchildren or adoptive, has several children but only one child who “does it all,”.
In other words you pull up a traffic light, it is green, yellow or dangerous red. The genogram also can help tell the GCM whether you have ex spouses or partners who want to participate as caregivers and what their emotional relationship is the care receiver. In other words is there green-lighted support or red saying stop here-when the family caregiver desperately needs your GPS to find that that new road.