Older Adults

The average age of diagnosis for MDS is currently 72. With the improved diagnostic ability of health professionals, coupled with people living longer and the large baby boomer population, this patient group will continue to grow over the next decade.

Caring for Older Adults

By 2030, when all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old, the population of adults in this age group is projected to be 71 million (Administration on Aging, 2007). These represents a more than a 100% increase in the number of persons 65 years and older. That might sound like great news, however who will care for them?  Caregivers.

Older patients who are diagnosed with rare bone marrow failure diseases like MDS, PNH or aplastic anemia will need someone to be there and provide appropriate levels of care. Many of these individuals will have other co-existing medical  condiitions, like dementia, diabetes and heart diseases, making caregiving for these older adults quite complex and taxing.

There is no one definition of caregivers or caregiving.  Caregivers can include relatives or friends who provide a wide range of care to parents, siblings, other relatives, friends or neighbors. Support may include:

  • Practical assistance with basic activities of daily living (e.g. housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation)
  • Personal care (e.g. help with monitoring medication, bathing)
  • Physical help (e.g. assistance with movement, supervision, direct medical care)
  • Emotional and social support (visiting, transportation, talking about emotions)
  • Finding and accessing services (housing, medical support)
  • Behavioral support ( communicating effectively, managing challenging behaviors)
  • Financial help (financial support, managing finances)

In a broader sense, caregiving assumes you are taking responsibility for providing care, along with the concern, worry and emotional involvement that this relationship needs. 

To learn more about caregivers, read an interview with Jane Meier Hamilton, RN, MSN.

To learn more about the impact of caregiving on the family, read the following article from the American Psychological Association.