Recently, I treated a 92 yr. old female patient who was never married, never had children and only had one older brother. She had two nieces who lived in distant states and they did not have a close bond with their aunt. My patient Perl took care of her ailing brother and made sure he received the best care prior to his passing two years ago.
Prior to this Perl was independent and self-sufficient and had only minor arthritic issues. She solely took care of her brother and was running to doctors appointments and addressing his memory deficits.
After his passing did only Perl start taking care of her self and her own medical needs. Being a caretaker was frustrating and also very stressful physically, emotionally and mentally. Now she had no one to lean on and had to do everything on her own.
More and more seniors are living longer today and not having enough help at home. Many times seniors refuse help and would prefer to be independent instead of having home health aides assist them with household chores. Other Seniors would like to have the companionship of an aide to overcome the loneliness and lack of family support.