Rosalynn Carter: Caregivers should tailor how they help

(Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

(Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

“There are four kinds of people in the world: those who are currently caregivers, those who have been caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.

“There are going to be many, many more older people. We’re living longer. There’s the baby boomers. There’s also the veterans coming home with physical problems, mental problems, PTSD, traumatic brain disorders. Somebody’s going to have to take care of them. There’s a dearth of geriatric professionals and those who know how to care for people with mental illness. There’s going to be a greater need for them.

“We [care experts from the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving] go into the home of a family. We ask them to name five problems they have and then we work through the problems.

“For instance, there was one woman whose husband had Alzheimer’s. He wouldn’t go into the bathroom. But he loved plants. And so when our trainer, our care coach, was working with him, one day they decided to put a plant in the bathroom. And he went in and watered it. Now he goes in and gets in the tub. He takes a bath and goes to the bathroom.

“You have to tailor how you help.”

-Former first lady Rosalynn Carter

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