As Baby Boomers who are also caregiv-ers for elderly parents, we know firsthand of the situation Jonathan Rauch recently shared in Reader’s Digest September 2011 issue. His story began as he was attempting to move his 80-year-old father closer to him in Alexandria, Va. so that appropriate care could be provided.
That move eventually happened, but not before many months of falls, calls from neigh-bors and resistance from the father who said he was “fine” and wanted to be left alone. During the heart-wrenching experience, Rauch sponta-neously shared his frustrations with a variety of people. They might have been shocked at what he said, but some listeners offered concern and sometimes good advice. But Rauch continued to think: How could so many people be unpre-pared for one of life’s near certainties?
That is a great question!
1. Do we not want to admit that our parents will age?
2. Don’t we say that the two guarantees in life are death and taxes?
3. Didn’t we watch our parents care for their parents?
4. Isn’t the news full of information about diseases, retirement options, se-nior living communities, long term care insurance and Medicare?
5. Isn’t AARP the largest lobbying group in the country?
6. Are we blinded to think it will happen to other people … just not us?
Actually, if we are fortunate enough to have family members live long enough, we will most likely need to provide care for them. That care may in-clude: bill paying, medication monitoring, coordinating doctor visits, grocery shopping and driving for them. These needs could expand into dealing with safety issues such as hygiene, nutrition and fall prevention.
Regardless of which specific needs the parent has, adult children can benefit from having support from other people who are “in the same boat.” But where is this support of-fered?
• Area Agency on Aging
• Reading periodicals: Up & Coming Weekly, Stroke Connection Magazine, Caring Today Magazine, etc.
• Some Local churches have groups focusing on Children of Aging Parents.
• Support Groups for target groups sponsored through medical and rehabilita-tion centers: such as Stroke, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Support Groups
• Neighborhood Recreation Centers• Websites: www.caregiverstress.com
• Friends and relatives
• Professional Caregivers
Essential in the process of caring for a loved one is not feeling alone in the process. It is helpful and possibly necessary to seek fellow-ship among others experiencing the same concerns as you. Consider starting a group if one is not available in your neighborhood or church. You can do this by yourself, but why would you want to when there is support out there?