People today live longer than people did in previous generations, but many older people cannot afford institutionalized care. When they’re no longer able to care for themselves, they must rely on their relatives and friends. Attorney and experienced gerontologist David Levy’s sensitive, practical manual will help family members create a personalized plan to meet the challenges of being caregivers. Most family care – 85% – is nonclinical, but can involve complex legal and insurance issues, transportation, family conflicts, physical limitations, and more. This comprehensive guidebook will be a boon to people concerned about caring for elderly relatives, special-needs children or loved ones with injuries or chronic illnesses. Levy writes without any recognizable style and leaves his own emotions to the side, but that turns out to be an advantage. His indispensable guidance is clear, straightforward, detailed and presented in a way you can follow with clarity, even in times of stress.. Levy calls his guidebook a “manual,” and follows that welcome concept from beginning to end.
“The Family Caregiver”
The American Society on Aging defines a family caregiver as “a person who cares for family – loved ones, [the] elderly or frail” or for “anyone with a physical or mental disability.” Today’s families can include blood relatives, life partners, marriage in-laws, friends or neighbors. Author David Levy, a gerontologist, defines a family caregiver as someone who:
- Provides legal, health, financial or social assistance in meeting the needs of a relative.
- Anticipates being the main person who will provide assistance and support when a family member – old or young – loses his or her independence.
- Helps another person by caring for or assisting their relative or friend.
- Provides care to someone with special needs who will never be fully independent.
Levy writes that the “Alpha caregiver” makes the final decisions for the patient, regardless of who else supplies daily care. “Primary caregivers” work directly with those who need care and either provide the care themselves or monitor paid or volunteer helpers. Long-distance caregiving means relying on secondhand information from on-site primary caregivers, while understanding that the information may be incomplete or inaccurate. Levy also speaks to the “sandwich generations,” family caregivers who must balance the needs of aging parents and young children. He points out that teenagers and children can help as caregivers. Age is no limit to the need for caregiving or the ability to help provide it.
About the Author
A gerontologist with two family caregiving practices, David Levy, JD, CCE, is a certified family mediator with the Florida Supreme Court and a certified family conflict dynamics profiler.