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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / The Addict at the Table / Editorial List

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The Addict at the Table

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Last week, I attended my fifteenth conference hosted by the American Society on Aging. This yearís Aging in Americaís event drew nearly 3,000 professional care advocates from government, community and the business sphere of influence. The buzz at the event was about how to support the work of family caregivers around the nation. (Yea!) This is a trend I have seen over the two centuries I have been attending the event. (Wow! Even saying that gets me tired.)

I remember leafing through the first conference program at the 1997 event, searching for at least one session with caregiver in the title, to no avail. Over the past decade, however, the conference program has grown in size many-fold and has, thankfully, become filled with interesting sessions about family caregiving. Rural, urban, financial support issues, respite, LGBT caregiving and grandparent caregiving were just some of the topics covered in the caregiving track.

The funny thing is that one of the most eye-opening sessions was from someone in our own back yard, Dr. Jamie Huysman, Todayís Caregiver magazineís Professional Issues Editor. His session was on Senior Addiction, Interventions and Caregiver Relapse: A New Pandemic. And boy is it. Did you know that there are over three million senior addicts in the country and that number will triple by the year 2020? Did you know that most hip fractures for those who are over 60 years old are attributable to mixing drugs and alcohol? Sure glad you donít know anyone like that, you say? Think again. There is every probability that a senior addict will be sitting across the table from you at Easter or Passover dinners. The vast amount of prescription drugs that our senior loved ones are taking, combined with easy access to the alcohol cabinet and depression, make for a volatile mixture.


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