Aug 28, 2010

Did caregiver stress contribute to Slater's slide?

Let me state right off the bat that I am against flight attendants jumping off planes! I don't care if my plane is at the gate. I want them there, paying attention to passengers and watching out for our safety. So I agree with the popular outrage over the actions of Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant who recently slid down an emergency chute, away from an abusive passenger and twenty years of service, and into his fifteen minutes of fame. Although to some he's become a folk hero, Slater's actions were obviously bizarre and maybe criminal...he could still face prison time..

What has emerged since the incident is that Slater may have been under unusual stresses unrelated to his flight duties. Did you know that he is a caregiver, albeit a long-distance one, for his mother, who is battling lung cancer? And that he also helped care for his father, who died of Lou Gehrig's Disease? That doesn't excuse his actions, of course, but it does put them in a context that I, as an elder law attorney, can full well understand. Slater could have been on an emotional short fuse. In my elder law/estate planning practice I see this kind of situation everyday. Caregivers can face enormous pressures, from the physical to the emotional to the financial.

If you are a caregiver to an elderly parent, spouse, special needs adult or child or anyone else with a chronic disability, you have to grab as much assistance as you possibly can, be it finding adult day care for your spouse, a support group for yourself, or a neighbor to come in so you can nap for an hour.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...