When I experienced one of my first of many caregiving burn out moments, I didn't know where to turn. I was fortunate to be guided toward a local Palliative Care organization.
After detailing our family situation,the Nurse Practitioner told me to, "Remember everybody matters". Seems obvious, right? But as anyone who has had caregiving responsibility knows; it is easy to disappear, to fully vanquish oneself to the needs of someone else, especially when those needs are great.
I was profoundly reminded of this when reading a memo to Dr. Tedros, the Director of the World Health Organization, written by Michael Hodin, Ceo of the Global Coalition on Aging,
"We know that there are nearly 1 billion of us over 60 today, moving inexorably to 2 billion by mid-century, and yet the WHO’s 13th General Program of Work – their work plan for the next 5 years during Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s first term – does not account for this profound shift in the population mix of more old than young. How can this be?"
It appears they believe that the only segment that really matters in public health is the children.
"There will be more people over the age of 60 than under 15 by 2025, with the proportion of old to young shifting,it is self-defeating, including for the children, not to give serious attention to the exploding health needs of their grandparents. By virtually ignoring older adults, the General Program effectively abandons this growing demographic to struggle with their health needs on their own, without needed support from the WHO."
Hodin suggests the revision of the 13th General Program of Work to reflect the reality that older people are at least as important as the children.
"Don’t be so coy about spending time, money, and resources on older populations. . Call it what it is: public health policy for older populations 60+. It’s ok. There are enough of us to warrant this recognition. Certainly, if good public policy is defined by (a) helping people who cannot much help themselves and/or (b) applying to people and places that are so large as to have broad impact, then 1-2 billion older adults surely meets that bar. Besides, it is guaranteed that if there is not better care and treatments for such age-related diseases as Alzheimer’s and other NCDs, the trillions we will have to spend to take care of these really sick old people will crowd out every possible spend on the children."