Harvard psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman shed his “veil of ignorance” during 11 years serving as the primary family caregiver for his wife, who had a rare form of early Alzheimer’s disease. In a new book, “The Soul of Care,” he offers suggestions for transforming health care ― just as caregiving transformed him.
Family caregivers are the backbone of our nation’s system of long-term care for older adults. Every year, more than 34 million unpaid caregivers — mostly family members — provide essential aid to adults age 50 and older, helping with tasks such as bathing or dressing and, increasingly, performing complex medical tasks such as managing medications, dressing wounds and operating medical equipment.
For a generation of LGBTQ+ people who lived through unprecedented social change, getting older poses new challenges. When it comes to seeking elder care, concerns about lack of services, discrimination, neglect and even abuse threaten to reverse recent progress.