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‘Consuming and Isolating’: Why the Caregiver Crisis Could Strain Public Health Care

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
01/23/19  11:36 AM PST
Caregiver Crisis

‘Consuming and Isolating’: Why the Caregiver Crisis Could Strain Public Health Care – By Cheryl Makin, Bridgewater Courier News for MyCentralJersey.com

With an undergraduate degree in gerontology, a master’s in aging services and a career advocating for the elderly, Linda Schulman thought she would have been well prepared for being a caregiver — again.

Having nursed her husband for five years through his battle with Myelodysplastic syndrome and then raised three children as a young widow, Schulman said she still faces stresses as caregiver to her 83-year-old mom who lives an hour away. She shares this duty with her sister, but that doesn’t make the constant feeling that “the other shoe is about to drop” go away.

“It’s hard,” said Schulman, director of Community Relations at Daughters of Israel in West Orange, a nursing home and short term rehabilitation center. “It’s like having a second full-time job. It’s very time-consuming. My mother is fairly independent — she can walk, she drives locally to get groceries and to the senior center a couple of days a week. But, my sister and I make sure she has one of us on the weekends. And my sister takes her to her doctors’ appointments. Basically, we pick up all the loose ends because if we didn’t do that, I’m not sure she would be able to live as independent as she is living.”    

Schulman is one of 1.7 million in the state who live the life of an unreimbursed caregiver. 

“It is my day and night,” said Schulman, who lives in East Hanover. “I lived it. I breathed it. And then it became my life.” 

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series focusing on the caregiver crisis in New Jersey.

“It becomes totally consuming and isolating”

Every day, compassionate Americans devote time, energy, and resources to ensure that family members who are disabled, elderly, chronically ill, or injured can remain in the stability and comfort of familiar surroundings. These Americans are caregivers — a growing group who often sacrifice much in their own lives for their loved ones.

Read the Full Article at MyJerseyCentral.com.

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