Robin Strongin

By Robin Strongin. Disruptive Women was pleased to cosponsor Friday’s The Last Word: Influential Women Discuss What Matters When Loved Ones Face Aging hosted by the Altarum Institute. The event brought together a group of outstanding women who have authored books on some aspect of end-of-life care.

The purpose of the roundtable was to start a much needed conversation about aging and caregiving as the current health care system does not support the right type of end-of-life care for both the aging individuals as well as the caregivers.

The roundtable participants made many thought-provoking points. Dr. Cheryl Woodson talked about how caregiving is different than it used to be and proposes that polices need to reflect this. For example, flexible spending accounts should cover caregiving. Dr. Muriel Gillick discussed the importance of understanding the aging individual’s values and what treatment will mean for their quality of life. From her experience as a geriatrician she thinks for the most part an intermediate level of care is the best and should be adopted as the care framework. Columnist Susan Jacoby stated that the gap between the rich and poor grows even larger as people age making it near impossible for some to secure long-term care. This can be made even worse for those that do not have family to help with their care. Dr. Francine Russo focused on how important family therapy and communication is not only during caregiving but after too. Dr. Joanne Lynn wrapped the conversation up by commenting on the lack of policies currently in place for caregivers and the need for them. She said that care of the elderly often goes in the closet, but to ensure we are able to care for them and the individuals who care for them we need to rally around the need for change.

Disruptive Women joins with the Altarum Institute in encouraging you to talk about end-of-life care and the need for overhaul of the current policies. We have started on our end by putting together our End of Life ebook. As the event’s moderator said, “it is not about what is the matter with you, but what matter to you” and what matters is providing the right type of care for the elderly and properly supporting those that care for them. Stay tuned to Disruptive Women for more on this topic.

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