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Another view of family members caring for ill relatives

May 1, 2019

This is in response to the Letter to the Editor “Family Members Need to Care for One another” submitted by Gary Sivacek, Danbury, in the April 3rd edition of The News-Times.

The letter is condescending to all those families’ sibling(s) who 1) are unable to provide any or additional support to their (ill) elderly family member(s) for legitimate reasons, and/or 2) would provide additional support if they were more knowledgeable and better trained to deal with the complications and requirements created by the illness.

In some cases the lack of unskilled and improper application can make matters worse, or even injure the elderly family member. Due to this, it is unfair to expect all sibling(s) to provide support beyond any support already being provided because one sibling feels “needy” and wants “time off.” This is a common scenario for many families that have demonstrated little or no family estate planning, and as a result are now positioned to choose caring for their ill elderly family member at home in an effort to avoid relinquishing the majority of the family’s assets to Medicare under the five-year look-back rule.

In such a situation, the family has limited alternatives, and must now consider hiring private skilled support to enable the primary caregivers the opportunity to schedule much-needed breaks without total reliance on each other to cover their break times. I do agree, however, that both the state and federal government need to do more to support the elderly, and particularly non-compensated family caregivers through this difficult and often stressful process.

Art Knudsen

Danbury

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