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Second Opinion for Caregivers
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As the population ages, families, friends and loved ones of the sick and elderly find themselves in changing roles. Caregivers struggle with the complexity of the medical system, financial issues and family tension. Yet many caregivers refer to their experience as powerful, positive and uplifting. To support caregivers, the health series Second Opinion has created a national public education campaign on caregiving.

Second Opinion for Caregivers is funded through a generous grant from The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.

Second Opinion Episodes on Caregiving

Dementia show panelists Dementia

Nearly five million people in the United States are living with some degree of dementia. Over the next few decades, aging baby boomers are expected to push that number even higher. This episode of Second Opinion introduces a panel of researchers and healthcare providers, along with one extraordinary dementia patient, who explore the latest trends in diagnosing and treating one of the most frightening illnesses a family can face.

Clinical Trials / Parkinson's Disease

Medical research has helped us lead longer, healthier lives, but it has also sparked ethical concerns and contentious political debate. Through a Parkinson's Disease case, panelists explore the controversial world of clinical trials and debate the potential gains and pitfalls of science on the edge.

Alzheimer's Disease: A Caregiver's Journey

A diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease can be devastating for a person and their loved ones.  Caregiving issues surrounding a person with a cognitive disease are unique, and planning for decline in health is critical for the caregiver.

Kidney Disease: Caring for a Chronic Illness

While chronic kidney disease continues to rise in the U.S., Second Opinion explores the many issues faced when caring for a loved one with a chronic disease.

Caregiver Burnout episode panelists Caregiver Burnout

Thirty one percent of the adult population age 20 to 75 provide informal care to a family member or friend who is ill or disabled. Burnout can result from the physical and emotional challenges associated with being a caregiver. While family caregivers give of themselves out of love, there are real physical, emotional and financial costs associated with caregiving.  As we live longer and caregiving becomes a bigger issue in the U.S., learn what can be done to help our caregiving community.

COPD

(Source: NIH / National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute) COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. "Progressive" means the disease gets worse over time. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust—also may contribute to COPD.

Multiple Sclerosis

(Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society) Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord). It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system incorrectly attacks the person's healthy tissue.

Heart Replacement

(Source: NIH / MedlinePlus) Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood throughout the body. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way it should.

Second Opinion Spinal Cord Injury Panel Spinal Cord Injury

(Source: NIH / National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of your back. It carries signals back and forth between your body and your brain. A spinal cord injury disrupts the signals. Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a blow that fractures or dislocates your vertebrae, the bone disks that make up your spine. Most injuries don't cut through your spinal cord. Instead, they cause damage when pieces of vertebrae tear into cord tissue or press down on the nerve parts that carry signals.

Living With Alzheimer's

(Source: Alzheimer's Association) Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

Cardiac Spouses

Heart disease is something we as Americans talk about a lot.  But most often, the conversation surrounds the person who has heart disease or has had a cardiac event.  But what about the spouse of that person?  Many times the spousal role immediately changes to caregiver, nurse and housekeeper.  Cardiac spouses are more suscepible to depression and other illnesses, but their health needs are often overlooked.

Geriatric Oncology

(Source: Cancer.net) More than 60% of cancers in the United States occur in people age 65 and older.  Cancers of the prostate, breast, colon, pancreas, bladder, stomach, lung, and rectum are the most common cancers in this age group.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

(Source: NINDS / NIH) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. The disease belongs to a group of disorders known as motor neuron diseases, which are characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons.