Monkey versus Robot & Caregiver Burden

We had a lecture on Caregiver Burden the other day, which I found fascinating. Again, this is all my own understanding – go google it or talk to a professional if you want more information.

We talked about the “Sandwich Generation” which is where the middle-aged are discovering they are taking care of both their own parents and their own children. Very difficult to do.

We talked about how stressful it can be to be a caregiver, and how caregivers need to understand taking care of him/herself is vital to being able to help the person he/she cares for. We discussed “compassion fatigue”, which I think a lot of people get, due to having to constantly deal with so much.

We talked about how OTs can help caregivers by giving them education about stress relief, respite care, home modifications, assistive devices, and more, to make his or her life easier. Also, OTs can work in advocacy, as well as in hospice, or doing consultation. Our professor used the example of IHOP – you see young waiters waiting on a lot of elderly people. These young waiters could probably benefit from some training on how to best interact with their elders, in terms of respect, understanding of low vision, hearing issues, patience, etc.

I really wish Dear Abby/Ann Landers/Advice Columnists would learn about OT and recommend it – I constantly read Dear Abby articles about people stressed out about their parents, and OTs can help a LOT with that. But of course she never mentions it. I also think an OT could be a great advice columnist for all sorts of issues. But that’s another post.

Finally, we had a discussion about “monkey versus robot”, which started up because we discussed how some older people just require a LITTLE bit of help – something that is necessary but would be silly to have someone come out just for those reasons (like putting on a shirt). We discussed how robots might be used one day to help with these tasks, but also that most elderly people would probably not be comfortable with that. One girl, Mary, pointed out her father would probably go at it with a bat. We then talked about how monkeys are sometimes used, but that the thought of monkeys going into the fridge for food and such is a little unappetizing. Some of us preferred the monkey, some the robot. It was interesting…somewhat jokey, but also good points.

Jan 25, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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