The New 'Female Problem'
By Patricia Grace    

In the halls of the nation’s businesses, the hushed whispers which were once reserved for gossip and Monday morning quarterbacking now echo the despair stressed out women are feeling in their role as caregivers. While men do represent a growing percentage of today’s caregivers, the role is still largely filled by women. In what could be considered the new “female problem” in the workplace, male management does not have the tools to adequately discuss and remedy this female ailment.

Caregiver Stress Defined

An individual’s face may not readily give away clues that they are suffering from caregiver stress, but a quick look at their employee attendance record will reveal absenteeism due to their work as a caregiver for an aging loved one. The fact that this individual has a higher utilization of the healthcare benefits and increased prescription plan participation for stress-related disorders may also warrant their classification as a caregiver.

Stressed out caregivers are susceptible to a whole host of problems as their immune system becomes compromised under the weight and associated guilt of caregiving. Migraine headaches and GI disorders are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact caregiver stress has on individuals. Caregivers overwhelmed by stress are also highly susceptible to depression. Individuals need to learn to recognize when their caregiving duties are getting the best of them.  Identifying community resources that offer services to caregivers and their loved ones can be just the prescription needed to bounce back.

Businesses and the overall economy are negatively impacted by caregivers who are emotionally drained by the burden of their role. The financial component of caregiver stress is far more reaching than that individual’s wallet. The trickle down effect of the disorder hurts all of our pockets as it robs employers of nearly $ 33.6 billion.

The Role of a Geriatric Care Manager

A GCM is a professional with expertise in geriatric or aging issues. They are a local resource with firsthand knowledge of the services available in your community.  Boomers living at a great distance who are concerned if their parent is safe in their own home can avail themselves of geriatric care management services for peace of mind with ease. Often the task of navigating the maze of senior housing and financial options associated with eldercare can put a strain on the parent-child relationship. A GCM can bridge the gap and facilitate discussion that leads to decision-making.

Geriatric care managers can assess, facilitate and
coordinate placement while providing family members the education they need to make informed decisions.  This education not only gives individuals a better understanding of the process, but it enables them to overcome the guilt and stress they may be carrying. Professional geriatric care managers consult with the family members and take into consideration their psycho-social and clinical needs, financial concerns and geographical desires.

Focus on Funding

Gaining an understanding of the finances associated with eldercare can cause a caregiver’s stress to reach an all- time high level.  Working with a geriatric care manager can put the funding solution you were looking for right at your fingertips. Aging specialists are experts on the VA Aid and Attendance bill as well as astute in Medicare and Medicaid issues.  Certified geriatric care managers can dispel any funding myth you may have heard and give you an indication of your eligibility for assistance.

 

 

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