What is the scope of the problem?
A 2007 study conducted with “boomer women” found that only 40% of women 45 years or older have begun planning for care their parents might need. Only 17% considered moving their parents into a nursing home. AARP discovered that family members provide care for 80% of those needing help with ADLs (activities of daily living, i.e., bathing, dressing, taking medications, paying bills). The average caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who is married and works outside of the home.
Another AARP workplace survey found that caregiving workers provide average out-of-pocket expenses of $2,400 to $3,888 per year. Further, family caregivers suffer stress including:
A role model for midlifers, seniors
At my age-64-my mother was a widow in excellent health living alone. Wanting to spare her family the stress she had felt raising four children and helping to care for her aging parents 500 miles away, she created a late-life plan.
She moved back to her hometown, where she lived in a spiritually-oriented retirement community with her widowed older sister for 25 years. Dispersed in three states, we children visited frequently, monitoring her care and health.
While still competent, our mother arranged for a trusted banker to manage her finances. She also gave General Power of Attorney to my brother and me. She completed her Advanced Directives, providing copies to each of us.
Soon after her sister died, my mother’s mental competence began to deteriorate. We contracted for around-the-clock inhome caregivers. As dementia progressed in her early 90s, my siblings and I decided to move her into assisted-living connected to the retirement community. One week monthly, each sibling called the staff to monitor her care. When her health declined, she entered the nursing wing, where she received around-the-clock care until she died at age 95.
My mother provided a valuable role model by creating her own last stage of life, returning to her “roots” where she had long-time friends and family, memories, and a rich tapestry of activities that she enjoyed in old age.
Fantasize to start conversion
The conversation between generations can begin by fantasizing the most comfortable and fulfilling last stage of life possible, both for your parents and for yourselves. Yes, we too, will be there one day and deserve our plan as well.
The powerful personal sharing of these fantasies opens the minds of family members to new possibilities for how they can create their last stage of living. Such sharing frequently elicits astounding misinterpretations of what our parents and each other truly want to happen! How poignantly significant it is to understand exactly what family members envision and desire at the pinnacle of their life!
These conversations become the foundation for creating a plan with your parents and for yourselves.
What issues must be addressed?
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Answers are provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners, some of America's TOP Elder Care Professionals who have years of experience in helping families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care / Senior Care Services.
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If you help familes plan for or deal with elder care matters, then you owe it to yourself and to families across America to become a professional member of the National ElderCare Matters Alliance and to be listed on the many Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by this National Alliance of Elder Care Professionals.
For additional information about professional membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, (including the many benefits of becoming one of our ElderCare Matters Partners) and to download an Application for your Basic, Premium or Partner Membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, visit: ElderCare Matters Alliance.