Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman
2 min readApr 9, 2024

Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Autism in Eldercare

Author unknown

April is autism care month. Many communities can have positive outcomes where knowledge and advocacy dwell. Are you caring for an elderly loved one with autism? Autism has often been misunderstood by those without knowledge of the condition. While many consider the condition attached to children, many grow old with autism. How should we think about autism? Let’s define the condition.

Autism (also known as autism spectrum disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It has variations of severity with lifelong implications that require care. Behavior outbursts and harming oneself or others have been known, which is why having a knowledgeable caregiver is vital.

Loved ones with autism have more medical problems because they are not as engaged or trusting of strangers and healthcare providers. While research has improved over time, many physical and mental health conditions are already in place; this also includes many chronic conditions. Social isolation and loneliness can make worse health issues and can often lead to depression.

Social Communication / Interaction Behaviors

Paying attention to social inactions can help you provide the best daily care. Things to watch out for may include limited eye contact, consistently distracted, lack of interest, slow responses when communicating with familiar family members, and gestures that are not consistent with the setting or environment.

Caregiver Interaction with Elders with Autism

What can you do as a caregiver of a loved one with autism? First, work hard to remove feelings of alienation and loneliness. While socialization may be challenging, the more consistent engagement with family, friends, and the environment may help with possibly decreasing known behavior often experienced by autistic loved ones. Talking with autistic loved ones, a calming voice and a caring tone will go a long way. Some medications have been prescribed for autism. They are mostly given for irritability, hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression.

The Autism Society of America is a helpful resource. Visit the links below:



As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I know that caring for an elderly loved one with autism requires an attentive caregiver. Safety should be a high priority. It also demands that the family step in to provide respite to the primary caregiver. Be safe! Be well!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.

Website: www.cynthiajhickman.com

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.