“Crisis”- An onset of an emotional disturbance or situational distress involving a sudden breakdown of an individual’s ability to cope.”
So now the question you may be asking yourself, “how will I know if my mother, father, grandparent or aging loved one is in crisis”? Good Question! This subject is so complex that it would be impossible to convey the message in 500 words or less.
My goal is to create awareness about a subject that is so profound and far reaching that it cannot be ignored or shoved under the proverbial rug. Nancy Carman, a Geriatric Care Manager with Senior Wise Care Management in South Jersey, states “the challenges of making sure that the elderly are cared for is a struggle that most adult children face. This is not child care. The elderly are fully developed individuals who have feelings and rights. It takes a village to keep the elderly safe and secure while enjoying a good quality of life.” Here are a few fast facts worth knowing:
1) Depression, Alcohol and Drug Addiction, Overmedication, and Elder Abuse are the most common types of crises seniors experience.
2) 2.5 Million Elderly Americans suffer from alcoholism or addiction to prescription drugs; with the highest rate affecting widowed men over the age of 75. *
3) Adverse reaction to medication represents the #1 health concern and risk for the elderly population resulting in 140,000 deaths yearly.**
4) There are nearly 6 million cases of elder abuse every year. That’s approximately one case every five seconds. Unfortunately, many of these cases will go unreported.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that any one of our parents is hooked on drugs, being abused or experiencing depression! There are many other types of life altering events that can adversely affect our aging population. As an example, my dad was fighting cancer among other chronic illnesses and was in and out of the hospital almost every other month (at least it seemed that way)! At that time, my parents lived in Florida and my mom was on her own and the pressure and uncertainty had become too much for her to handle. Not only was my dad in physical crisis but my mother was being emotionally stressed to the limit. This was a serious matter which could easily be defined as a “crisis.” Lucky for me, they were not in denial so they were ready to make that move to be closer to me.
I would love to hear your stories and how you handled any crisis you may have encountered with your aging parent or loved one.
Let’s keep the conversation going!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.
*Network of Aging
** Dr. Andrew Duxby-UAB Publication