Monday, March 4, 2013

Taking Care of Aging Parents

     As baby boomers age, we are often responsible for taking care of parents who may need assistance in areas, such as bathing, nutrition, medication, finances, living conditions, transportation, etc.  Adult children provide the majority of long term care for elderly parents.  Fortunately, new in-home services and programs allow today’s seniors to be more independent and stay in their own homes longer. 
      Modern technologies make it possible for adult children to have peace of mind by providing needed care through use of sensors, alerts, live images streaming, and GPS type tracking devices, which may be in the form of a pendant or wristband.
       Adult day care centers provide an avenue for seniors to interact with others, giving relief to the caregiver and providing a social outlet with peers.   Parents don’t want to feel as if they are a burden to their children and may not reveal their loneliness or their need for  help, so we need to be vigilant in our observations of elderly parents.   Another source of assistance is respite care, where a short-term, assisted- living facility is utilized, or a paid caregiver comes in while the family member takes a break.
      As informal caregivers, boomers need to have outlets for themselves and find outside help to prevent stress and burnout.  Seniors have access to more creative ways of taking care of themselves than ever before.  In addition to nursing homes, there are assisted living homes in retirement communities, shared living, neighborhood-based programs, professional geriatric care organizations and living with children.
      Our parents loved and cherished us in our formative years; we should do no less for them in their declining years.


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