Caring for our Aging Parents – Adult Baby Boomer’s Face the Future

It is a traumatic event when an adult child faces the realities of their aging parent’s needs.  As the US population lives longer we are faced with a growing need to meet the unique needs of this population. Today in the US alone, over 6 million seniors require assistance for day to day activities ranging from personal care to cooking, cleaning and handling their finances.

The physical and psychological stress of meeting the needs of one’s aging parents can be overwhelming. There are organizations that can help provide support for the baby boomers as they sit sandwiched between the needs of their aging parents and the demands of their own youthful families. According to Carol O’Dell, author of Mothering Mother, finding balance and not losing yourself is the hardest part of being the caretaker. She recommends some of the following when faced with the extended care of an elderly love one:

  • Community/church volunteer agencies – yardwork, snow removal, drive to appts, shop for groceries, etc
  • Adult Day Care/Senior Social Groups – while not always popular with the elderly, getting them out and socialized with others their age is a good thing for the care giver and the cared for…
  • Family Meetings – some unpopular decisions might have to be made and so ‘buy in’ or at least information is a powerful tool for all involved
  • Safety Review – if the elderly are brought into your home or left to live in theirs, certain precautions must be made to protect them from falls and bumps. Have a physical therapist or an occupation therapist come in and evaluate for where grab bars, improved lighting, and other safety items should be implemented.

Most important is that the care giver remember they do not have to do this alone. There are agencies and organizations out there to help you make decisions and implement a realistic plan for long term or short term care of your senior. Both AARP and the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers have information and resources available.

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