Diane Sawyer Talks Aging with Martha Stewart and Virginia Morris

This week, Diane Sawyer will be hosting a roundtable discussion on “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” focusing on current issues surrounding eldercare. The series, “Families on the Brink: What to do About Mom & Dad,” will feature Virginia Morris, who authored “How to Care for Aging Parents,” and two geriatricians: Neil Resnick of the Institute on Aging at the University of Pittsburgh and Marie A. Bernard, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging. Many will be surprised to see Martha Stewart on the panel; most people don’t know that Stewart partnered with Mount Sinai Medical Center in 2007 to open an eldercare center: The Martha Stewart Center for Living, dedicated to her mother.

The roundtable discussion will cover a breadth of eldercare topics, including driving, caregiver stress and medication management. Caregivers carry a heavy burdenOne of the more prominent issues surrounding caregiving, as Resnick points out, is the cost burden they incur to care for an aging loved one. Resnick says caregivers in the U.S. spend about $200 billion on eldercare each year. Bernard points out that beyond the financial burden, many caregivers tend to ignore their own health issues, which may seem minor in comparison to their loved one’s condition — but, even minor health concerns left unattended can quickly turn into more serious problems.

Resnick also talks about the stress of watching mom or dad go “downhill,” which causes many caregivers to feel helpless, but he says that’s often not the case. Much of what we see as a decline could be attributed to medication side effects or even an undiagnosed disease that could be easily fixable.

The series comes in a timely fashion, addressing the wave of concerns following the onset of the “silver tsunami,” or the 77 million baby boomers that have begun to turn 65. Read the summary on ABCNews.com for all the details on this informative series.

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