Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The cost of gas will affect many lives - and health

It's likely something most of us haven't thought about. With all the news of the rising cost of fuel, we think about the cost of food, trying to cut back on how much driving we do - but how many of us thought about the impact on the sick and the elderly?

I didn't until I wrote the article Measuring the Cost of Gas in Lives - Not Dollars.

Many people depend on volunteers to provide companionship to the elderly, deliver food through programs like Meals on Wheels, and respite to tired caregivers. Others depend on visiting nurses or nurses' aides to provide care and comfort while ill or in their dying days. What's going to happen when these people can no longer afford to make those visits?

What of the sick and elderly who live great distances from their healthcare providers. Will they be able to afford the cost of transport to go for the several-times-per-week dialysis? Can they make it for their monthly specialist appointment? Or will they try to stretch out the time between visits, to economize. If that happens, won't they just be sicker when they finally do get to the doctor, thus requiring more care? Or, they may fall ill at home, requiring emergency services and ambulance transport. None of that is cheap.

Then we have those who have loved ones who are dying at home - who are receiving palliative care or hospice care at home. Will they be able to continue receiving such care if the staff and volunteers can't afford the gas? Will they have to find the means to pay for that themselves?

And lastly, what of our elderly and sick who are in long-term care facilities and who depend greatly on the stimulation of their visitors: friends, family, even volunteers. If people can't afford to visit them as often - or at all - what will become of them? Will they get depressed with less stimulation? Will they become sicker?

The cost of gas brings us more than just inconvenience and high prices - it may have put a price on lives.

Today on Help My Hurt:

Your coffee may help prevent gout
Poll: Do you use a cane?
5 more diseases that cause chronic pain
Colic - what is it and what can you do?
7 ways to help children in pain
In My Humble Opinion, By the Cane Man®

Today on Womb Within:

Your baby is growing - the third month
Teen pregnancy rate in US drops
Video: Kegel exercises

News for Today:

Obesity epidemic in U.S. kids has levelled off: officials
ADHD leads to loss of productivity in workplace: study
C-sections a critical factor in preterm birth increase
Therapies appear helpful in reducing risk of depression following stroke
Antioxidant supplements may lessen benefit of radiation and chemotherapy
US reporters often do a poor job of reporting about new medical treatments

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boy, this is right on the money! I own a caregiver services company, and before long we're going to have to raise prices in order to keep the caregivers whole, with the price of gas going through the roof. Where will all this end!??