SENIOR CORNER

Last wee02-16-11-senior-care.gifk’s broadcast of ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer closed with a story featuring Home Instead Senior Care, as “Person of the Week!” This is part of a series called “Families on the Brink: What to Do about Mom and Dad.”

Sue and Skip Hollcroft are two of the more than 20 million people struggling to take care of their children and their aging parents. In January, when her widowed father, John C., almost 86-years-old, wrecked his car, it got even more difficult. Because of her father’s declining health, the family decided that it was unsafe for him to live in the house he loved and had lived in for more than 30 years. Though Sue Hollcroft said it was terrifying to have her dad living alone in the house, he refused to move. He said he felt comfortable there.

For months, the family searched for a solution as Sue and Skip’s stress increased. “That’s where we said, We’ve got to find something. How can we? What can we do?” Skip Hollcroft said.

Finally they found a compromise, and today John C. is home but he’s not alone. A caregiver provided by a service called Home Instead Senior Care visits John C. for four hours a day, five days a week. The caregiver helps him with household chores, accompanies him to his favorite restaurant and provides him with comfortable companionship. “It’s kept him in his home and that’s what he wants,” Sue Hollcroft said. 

Nine out of 10 people over 60 want to stay in their homes as long as possible. They are able to do that thanks to new technologies — like seniors alerting family members of a problem — and the help of neighbors and caretakers, according to the AARP. Amy Goyer of the AARP said that now there is a trend for seniors to age at home. “That is the goal of most adults as we live longer, most people want to stay in their own homes,” she said.

“That means that families have to be involved in support, neighborhoods, communities, but there is also the industry of technology that supports and aids people to stay in the home,” Goyer said. She pointed to such innovations as vibrating pill boxes that sound an alarm when it’s time for a person to take their medication and a website created for seniors so they can stay connected with family members in one place.

Goyer said franchised organizations and local nonprofit agencies also provide personal care to aging adults living at home. 

Home Instead Senior Care is one of the many services designed to allow seniors to stay out of nursing homes.

Offering the “Families on the Brink” series shows how this topic is clearly on the minds of Americans. Sometimes just starting the conversation is the most awkward position for the family member. Having a conversation around the dinner table might be the benefit that gets everyone informed. Accurate information is essential.

Home Instead Senior Care is one of the
many services designed to allow seniors
to stay out of nursing homes.

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