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Are you a caregiver or caretaker? There is a difference.

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Show me a caregiver and I'll show you a caretaker. They are usually one in the same. When you think of a caregiver many pictures could flash in your mind. A mom, grandmother or aunt? My friend in Australia refers to himself as a carer for his elderly mom.

Your caregiver could have been a caretaker, guardian, foster parent, babysitter, minder, nanny (also nannie), nurse, sitter; custodian, guard, keep, keeper, protector; attendant, chaperone (or chaperone), companion.

Full Definition of CAREGIVER: a person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill)

Full Definition of CARETAKER: a person who takes care of buildings or land while the owner is not there, a person who gives physical or emotional care to someone (such as a child, an old person, or someone who is sick) one that gives physical or emotional care and support <served as caretaker to the younger children, one that takes care of the house or land of an owner who may be absent, one temporarily fulfilling the function of office <a caretaker government>.

Waiting for get blood drawn today I listened to a nice looking older man talking away with the same person I wanted to take my blood. Turns out what he had to say wasn't all bad; but what was amazing is that he was 80 years old. Later that day while in line at a department store I complimented the cutest older lady. She had an adorable yellow hat which matched her yellow jeans, her jacket and scarf had yellow within the pattern. Her makeup was applied nicely, and spoke I put my own makeup on. We talked and she was 85 years old and just loves shopping.

What do you do when your older parent, in my case, my mom has no experience in allowing others to help? No really I'm asking?

Most older Americans would prefer to receive care at home rather than in nursing homes, yet many states have been slow to reform Medicaid programs to make that choice widely available and no state programs authorize payments for family members to provide care for older loved ones at home. Most states do a much better job of using Medicaid dollars to help people with developmental disabilities remain in their homes and communities than to help older people and adults with physical disabilities.

Now to discuss the 'most older Americans'. Hundreds of thousands of the nation's seniors are misusing prescription drugs, including narcotic painkillers, anxiety medications and other pharmaceuticals, for everything from joint pain to depression. Hundreds of thousands of the nation's seniors are misusing prescription drugs, spurred by a medical community that often is quick to offer narcotic painkillers, anxiety medications and other pharmaceuticals for everything from joint pain to depression. And despite a push by public health officials to slash dispensing rates, doctors are prescribing the highly addictive drugs at record levels.

By many measures — rising overdose deaths, a spike in emergency room visits, increasing admissions to addiction treatment programs — the toll on the senior community is enormous, a USA TODAY review of government data finds. "There's this growing group of seniors, they have pain, they have anxiety … and a lot of (doctors) have one thing in their tool box — a prescription pad," says Mel Pohl, medical director at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, which treats seniors for pain and drug dependence. "The doctor wants to make their life better, so they start on the meds." Over time, patients build up a tolerance or suffer more pain and they ask for more medication, Pohl says. "And without anyone necessarily realizing, it begins a downward spiral with horrible consequences."

From 2003 I'm been on the rooftop yelling, "be your own advocate". It's a good thing I've had practice because I've been in the full blown advocate mode for my mom and stepdad.

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