Community forums on neurology topics continue in Murray, with a forum on caring for aging parents at Primary Care on November 12th. Dr. Chris King, a board-certified neurologist, leads the discussion and speaks with Tracy Ross on Sounds Good about caregivers, challenges they face, the parent-child dynamic and resources available.
Who Takes Care of the Caregiver?
One of the questions Dr. King says he kept getting was: what about the people taking care of a parent? "Caregivers are really the unsung heroes," he says. There are approximately 23 million households affected by caregivers and he hopes the forum can give them some acknowledgement. They aren't thought of very much, he says, and he'll try to offer strategies on how one can protect themselves if they're a caregiver. Depression can be an issue because they don't get out and do thing for themselves.
Caregivers can be friends, family or hired help. Often they're over the age of 65, approaching an elderly age themselves. They tend to not take care of themselves, he says, even taking an hour or two a week to see a movie or go to the store - little things that no one thinks about. As a caregiver, you have to allow yourself to be helped. Help can come in the form of other family members, friends or church. Churches can often be a good resource, he says, especially since agencies can cost money and finances are already stretched when dealing with someone who is sick.
Parent Child Dynamic
This dynamic gets flipped on its head, Dr. King says, he finds himself talking to both patients and their families a lot and says it's a switch. It can be difficult to find ways to help ease the parent into the idea that they're now being cared for by those that they raised. Trying to get everyone to understand the changing roles and the importance the children are now going to be playing can be a process. It can be a difficult obstacle requiring the parent to relinquish some of their duties and controls.
You're Not Alone
A lot of time, just being acknowledged opens up a conversation at these community forums, Dr. King says. Caregivers will be able to talk about themselves with other people in the same boat. This can facilitate a good discussion and provide some organic networking. There are a lot of questions out there, a lot of people out there who are worried and concerned and seeking advice, he says. He hopes to continue doing the forums as long as people want to show up. Future topics will cover big things in neurology from headaches to Parkinson's disease.
The event is Thursday, November 12 at 6 p.m. at Primary Care, at 1000 South 12th Street in Murray.