Interview with Dr. Bob Arnot
Gary Barg: Your
dad passed away after a massive
heart attack. I was hoping you would
talk a little bit about your role as
a family caregiver.
Bob Arnot: Well, with both my parents, there
were a number of chronic diseases that they had. Both of them
actually did have heart disease. I, as a physician and advocate, of
course, was really trying to upgrade their care, which is a tough, tough,
tough thing to do. You first and foremost have to be a disruptor because,
after all, Mom or Dad is very comfortable being wherever their head is at,
being in with their old doctor. With both my parents, I had to push.
For instance, my mother had an aortic valve that had closed down to a
very small area, way passed the time she should have had surgery.
Her doctor actually sent her home and said, “I will see you in six
months.” Well, she was not going to come back in six months.
She had a near-death episode and, fortunately, we got her into the
hospital, got the right surgeon and a new aortic valve. She survived, but
the tough thing about being a caregiveris that it’s not enough to just
care an awful lot and do everything humanly possible. You have to be
able to navigate the health care system, which is far from easy...continued
Finding Daycare Options
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff
Caregivers who are just beginning their journey
may feel day care services are for later stages of
their loved one’s situation. The sooner
caregivers locate and enroll their family member in
a program, the greater the benefit for all
concerned. Finding the appropriate day care
can be challenging, but has grown much easier over
More adult day care centers are popping up in
different areas. You may begin to notice more
of them than you did previously, which expands
options for places to start...continued
Eating Disorders: How to Offer Support
By Christopher Clark
You are a spouse or parent of someone
with an eating disorder, you are all too aware of that
feeling of helplessness as you watch your loved one’s
physical and psychological condition deteriorate. You
may notice changes in personality. An individual may
turn from being sociable and energetic to being withdrawn
Blood Pressure: It’s a Balancing Act
Most people hear about all the symptoms and side
effects of high blood pressure. The opposite end of the
spectrum can be just as daunting if not kept in check.
Low blood pressure is desirable in many cases, unless
the reading is too low. Low blood pressure can
cause major damage to organs, especially the brain...continued
Sharing Wisdom - Caregiver Tips
Petra from Brooklyn, NY
I have an organized
list of medical records as the caregiver for my brother, and
I keep one for myself. It is on the computer, which makes
it easy to update and print as necessary. In addition, I
can email and share with family members as needed. On the
Medication Record, I note the name of the patient, primary
physician(s) with phone numbers, and the emergency contact
person (namely myself). This has each medication name, the
condition it treats, start and end dates, dosage,
prescribing doctor, and possible reaction/side effects. On
the last page, I have listed all medical doctors' names
including surgeons and what was performed, date and results
of surgery. On the Serious Illness Record are all treatment
dates (most recent on top), medical condition, outcome,
hospital name and address, primary doctor, and results of
treatment. These two documents come in very handy at the
hospital and save my having to repeat constantly.
Lisa from Newport News, VA
To accommodate a
wheelchair ramp at my home, I recently had to buy a new
storm door and I'd like to share what I learned. The newer
doors have a "stop" built into the closer so that you can
tap it with your foot and it holds the door open. Then to
release the stop, you only have to open the door a bit more
and it slowly closes. Because the stop is built into the
closer (not the door), I'm thinking that this new and
improved closer can probably be purchased and installed on
an existing storm door. I can't tell you how handy this
feature has been because it frees me up to focus on my mom
as we enter the house instead of trying to hold the door
open with my foot.
The best ideas and solutions for taking care of your
loved one often come from other caregivers. Please post your ideas
and insights and we will share them with your fellow caregivers.
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