Magazine article Medical Economics

When the Adult Child Refuses to Get Involved

Magazine article Medical Economics

When the Adult Child Refuses to Get Involved

Article excerpt

Of course, there are adult children who don't want anything to do with their aging parents. How do you handle this situation? "I ask the patient who he discusses his medical condition with," says internist Claudio Castelli of Hackensack, N.J. "It's usually a daughter. Sometimes I make a phone call and ask how we can all work together." It can be difficult to reach someone, Castelli notes, but "in general, my experience has been positive." At times, a physician may be called upon to act like a social worker. "If you know that a patient who lives alone is psychiatrically impaired, and the neighbors are telling you he's not eating and the house is a mess, you should ask a local or state agency to visit," says Castelli. "But I always try to talk to the patient and get in touch with the kids first."

Geriatric psychiatrist Michael Levy suggests that when an elderly person is brought in by adult protective services because she's been living alone in squalor, she's probably alienated everybody in her life. …

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