Conversations among Baby Boomers today often focus on eldercare fears, frustrations, and outright moans. A blip on the Android can mean mom has fallen from the couch while cheering her favorite political rant, or dad has phoned the police to report the theft of his glasses. Siblings squabble over whose turn it is “check on the folks”, or who last checked the sell-by dates in the parental fridge.
Nearly half of all Boomers today are affected by the care of aging relatives, and most admit it harder than they bargained for, even worrying that they will end up spending more time caring for parents than they did raising their own children.
However, these difficult experiences have one advantage- they can provide those of us reaching modern middle age with a special chance to focus on our own future needs and the decisions we might want to start making now.
Today’s 50+ citizens are almost unanimous in wanting to remain in their homes as long as possible. Aging in place is a movement devoted to helping seniors retain fulfilling lives by staying in safe, trusted environments – in other words, their own homes – as long as possible. Though none of us can predict how our needs might change a decade or more from now, the first step can be thinking about the lives we want to lead versus the specific kinds of challenges we might face living into our 90s and beyond.
It is worth facing up to the fact that the miracles of increased longevity will mean a greater likelihood of disability or chronic illness. Even diabetes and arthritis can limit our ability to adequate self-care and thus more of us will require help with aspects of daily living and disease management. Right now, think about any illnesses affecting you or your partner, and consider asking your doctor how these could eventually limit your ability to take care of daily tasks. Bathing, dressing, homemaking and climbing stairs can become more challenging over time, and for this reason the demand for Senior Home Care Services is rapidly rising- sometimes to alarming rates.
Whether planning for older relatives or yourself, it is worthwhile to be concerned about professional care giver quality. The media never lacks scare stories of home care gone wrong, and while this may be rare, the booming care service industry can mean many workers who may lack the training and skills needed to assist safely and reliably.
Start your senior home care search with those you trust the most, whether family, friends or clergy from your church or synagogue – religious groups may offer their own senior services or recommend some.
Community services may also assist, as can healthcare providers, social workers and local government resources. The most important thing to remember, however, is that any recommended home care staff are fully licensed, certified and screened. Reliable organised home care programs, such as Dynamic Nursing, are highly regulated by the state and federal government and undergo annual checks through a state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Being proactive now about how we want to live in the future is the first major step to keeping our independence and staying at home with pets, old rock records and personal computers. This means planning and prioritizing today what we most value about our current lives while at the same time preparing for challenges and making sure that the right help is available.