Even for the savviest caregivers, navigating our increasingly complex health-care system is anything but easy.
A Critical Situation
"It hasn't been easy," said 86-year-old Gerry Polnivy, of Oakdale, in suburban Long Island, N.Y. She is the primary caregiver for her husband, also 86, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago.
She rarely leaves him alone these days, except for a quick trip to the supermarket or occasional visit to the library. "Thank goodness my daughter is nearby, and sometimes she takes him to the doctors." Her husband's multiple chronic conditions require regular visits to his primary physician, neurologist, urologist, cardiologist and other specialists.
Older people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias have more than three times as many hospital stays, more skilled nursing facility stays and home health-care visits than other older people, according to the American Alzheimer's Association.
Almost everyone with AD (95 percent) has at least one other chronic condition, leading to significantly higher overall health costs when compared with people with chronic medical conditions but no coexisting dementia.
Family caregivers are too often left on their own to monitor multiple conditions, with little good information or education, said Susan Reinhard, PhD, MSN, senior vice-president of the Public Policy Institute of AARP Inc. (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons).
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Next Article
About this article: Welcome to the United States is one of an 8-part series provided to the ajc.com by Alzlive.com - a distinct voice in the online caregiver landscape, devoted to family who are caring for those with Alzheimer's or other dementia.
Related Article Links for Navigating the Healthcare System
Money and Legal Planning with Aging Relatives: Sure, we all know our parents are getting older, but do we really understand how their aging process may impact us as a family or as an individual?
Delivering a Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease: Receiving a probable diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can bring even the strongest to their knees.
Check Out These New Memory Care Services: Not all assisted living centers are created equal—particularly when it comes to a residence for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia.
Alzheimer's Message Boards: Message boards, online forums and chatlines can be lifesavers.