Medical illness, hospitalization, surgery and the degenerative processes associated with aging can take its toll on patients as well as family members. When support is needed, talking to a therapist with expertise in health psychology can help patients and caregivers avoid a downward emotional spiral.
Profound Adjustments in Lifestyle May Accompany Illness and Aging
Often profound adjustments in lifestyle are required to manage the changes in physical capacities and the emotional vulnerability that may accompany serious illness, aging, and the ensuing medical complications. For those with chronic illness or the complications associated with aging, there may be additional stress associated with repeated recurrences, or the prospects of further decline.
The Strains and Losses Associated with Illness and Aging too often go Unaddressed
It is important to have an opportunity to talk honestly about the need for accommodations to what may be a shrinking world and the losses that result. For most people change is hard; even more so with the realization that there are times when limitations truly lead to diminishing options. And that there may be times when one door closes that another may not open. With illness and aging, it may be that when one door closes, another closed door may follow.
The Strain on Caregivers can also be Considerable
The life challenges faced by the caregiver can also be considerable, as well as the emotional toll imposed by unpredictability and the need for constant adjustments. Fear and frustration may give rise to feelings of hopelessness. Caregivers and their loved ones may need help finding ways to keep their heads above water, to communicate with one another when relationships become strained, and to cope more effectively.
Links to Relevant Resources
- Having Surgery: What You
Need to Know
- Quick Tips: When Planning
- Quick Tips: When Talking
with Your Doctor
- Be an Active Member of Your
Health Care Team
- Talking with Your Doctor: A
Guide for Older People
- Healing Well (Disease
- Coping with Chronic Illness
- Understanding and Dealing with Fear of Surgery
Coping with Aging
- A Caregiver’s Guide for Family and Loved Ones
- Preventing Caregiver Burnout
- Self Care for Family Caregivers
Using the Internet as a Resource