Friday, July 24, 2009

Clinic Notes: When the Baby Boomers Develop Alzheimer's and Today's Kids with Autism Grow Up Who Will Care for Them?

My mother has Alzheimer's and is in an Alzheimer's unit at a local nursing home. She doesn't know us anymore, but she is receiving the best care possible. And she should. It is costing $5000 per month to keep her there and she doesn't get her hair fixed for free anymore. Now that's extra.
In my clinic the parents of the children with autism that I see are worried about what will happen to their children when they grow up. In most states there is a long waiting list for sheltered workshops and group homes and many adults with autism are vegetating in their parents' homes.
My mother's Alzheimer's and the autism epidemic got me to thinking about the future. Could moderate to high functioning children with autism be taught to care for Alzheimer's patients, at least, Alzheimer's patients who were mild to moderate? Children with autism like schedules and with a visual schedule should be able to attend to many of the Alzheimer's patients' needs. Of course, some nursing care would still have to be provided. And children with autism seem to have an affinity for other people who have neurological disorders. It could be done and would save a lot of money. I think the Alzheimer's patients and the adults with autism would enjoy each other. I'm not sure to go about implementing this though. And surely someone would object.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

I worry about what will happen to our kids later in life, too. It's going to be a tremendous cost...