an online resource for baby boomers

Elder Care:
From Whence it Comes!

A comedian at The Improv whined to his audience the other night about the distinct possibility that neither Social Security nor Medicare benefits would be available to him when he grows old. Why? His slightly off-colored explanation was that, “Old people just don’t die when they are supposed to anymore.” Of course, at the comedy club, this statement got a laugh from the listeners, but the uncomfortable reality of his skit is not quite as humorous. We all know that many of us are living longer. Some of us may live longer well; others may not be as fortunate.

Our first Boomers turned 65 in 2011. The over-65 age group is the fastest growing group of our population and experts predict that by the year 2020, almost 20% of America’s population, will fall into this category. A multitude of issues accompanying this age group growth-spurt has fueled a shift in the needs and expectations of healthcare. Addressing these needs has contributed to the development of a boutique industry known as Elder Care. Elder Care is defined by Wikipedia as “the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens.” This term includes services suchas assisted living, adult day care, long-term care, nursing homes, hospice care, and in-home care” in addition to wellness and estate planning.

If financial instability and illness could be the exception, rather than the norm with growing old, we would all enjoy our golden years. Too often, our parents become our dependents as they age. Many elders rely on their children to transport them to appointments, cook, clean, and care for them, and even manage a second household. Statistics tell us that over 50 million people in the United States are caregivers for one or more family members. For these caregivers, along with the regular pressure of day-to-day living, coming home to a second job can be demanding, difficult and emotionally draining. Some family caregivers are responsible for the care of an aging parent from a distance, causing even more guilt and enormous stress.

A middle-aged woman was registering her father at the reception window at a physician’s office. When asked if she was the “primary caregiver,” she stated, “Yes, but I’m still the daughter”. Family caregivers need to remember to enjoy the intended relationship between parent and child, especially when caring for an ailing parent. Role reversal often occurs, but can be better managed when the caregiver knows when to seek assistance.

Fortunately, the eldercare industry is abundant with professionals with years of experience in helping families with elder care matters, including: Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys, Geriatric Care Managers, Insurance Professionals, Reverse Mortgage Specialists, Seniors Real Estate Specialists, Home Care Agencies, and many other elder care experts. There is an unparalleled amount of information, both in print and on the Internet, available to Boomers to help them with their task of caring for their frail and aging parents.

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Boomers Resource Guide is a special supplement to the Senior Citizen's Guide