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June 26, 2006

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Deb Peterson

Hi Mona--Terrific post! I came across some publications from the World Health Organization that address some of the social and governmental aspects of the long-term caregiving phenomenon--you might be interested. They're at: http://www.who.int/chronic_conditions/ltc/en/ Some countries, like Germany, actually give pension (ie Social Security) credits to individuals who leave the workforce to care for a family member. Just another facet of the situation.

Mona Johnson

Thanks for the link to the WHO information, Deb. I'll check it out. Very interesting how various countries address the caregiving contribution and caregivers' needs. The report from the Family Caregiver Alliance mentioned above has more details, but only looks at 6 countries. I would think the formal recognition of the contributions of caregivers is as important as any payments. Do you think caregivers feel invisible or somehow not valued?

Paula

Mona - The part of your post about the VA struck a particular chord with me.

When I started investigating VA benefits for my dad (he was in the Army in WWII), a social worker kindly directed me to call the local American Legion, not the VA. And sure enough, when I met with the American Legion guy, he told me to file the paperwork through his office and with his help, and *not* to call the VA, which he hinted would give me the runaround. Still, the process seems to take about 6 months.

Karma

This is such an important topic. There really aren't enough resources and services for caregivers. Our society just hasn't yet come to terms with how hard it really is for us. My dad has been the primary caretaker for my mom, who has Alzheimer's, but I've been flying back and forth to help out. My dad's health has really declined in the last couple of months, I think specifically because of how hard caretaking is. And I've started having some minor health problems as well. Anyway, thanks for your discussion of this important topic.

Gail Rae Hudson

I remember reading this post. I also remember not commenting on it, I'm not sure why, I think it may have been that I talked about it round about in my journal but, what a great edition to PCParade, Mona! I'm glad you contributed it! I'm glad it was picked up! --Gail Rae

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