Geropsychiatric Nursing Clinical Pearls: Elder Index and Caregiver Toolkit
by Marcia Walmer
Chronic illness, retirement, and living on a fixed income can place undue financial burden on an older adult. These factors contribute to the incidence and exacerbation of depression.
During a home visit, assess patient finances indirectly; observe whether the utilities are active, note the amount of food in the fridge, determine the adequacy of home furnishings and clothing, and if the patient saves money by taking his or her prescribed medications every other day rather than as ordered.
The Elder Index is a measure of the income that an older adult needs to meet basic needs and age in place with dignity.
Caregiver strain can lead to elder abuse. Determine the impact of caregiving on an elderly spouse, significant other, or family member.
Patients who are unable to perform their own ADLs and IADLs, who do not sleep through the night, and who have chronic health conditions requiring daily assessment and treatment may overwhelm the caregiver and contribute to the creation of a second patient.
To assess caregiver strain, see the Caregiver Toolkit.
Marcia Walmer, AP/MHNP-BC, LCSW