The Boomer Dilemma
Grown Kids, Aging Parents
The statistics are alarming. According the Congressional Budget Office, the number of 85-year-olds in the U.S. will grow five times by 2050. Congressional Quarterly Researcher says that one in five Americans now over 50 will need long term care at some point in their lives, with over 70 percent of them turning 65 this year.
And, more than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year. This is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The numbers of older Americans are multiplying rapidly. Baby Boomers not only are caring for their own children, but are taking on more and more responsibility for the health and well-being of their aging parents. This is beginning to have a huge effect on the focus of the healthcare system in our country.
How can Boomers juggle their own lives and those of their kids, and ensure that their aging parents — many of whom have complex, chronic medical conditions — receive the best care possible. This is especially difficult if they must do this long distance, which a large percentage of them do!
As we all get older, the likelihood of having multiple diseases at the same time greatly increases. Both treatment and long-term care become more complicated and require closer monitoring. And a recent study showed that 80 percent of people receiving care from others prefer to remain at home, where they are most comfortable and most likely to thrive.
Geriatric Care Managers are nurses or social workers with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care. They work with older adults and their families to create a plan of care that meets their needs and help them understand what those needs are and what resources and options are available. They supervise the delivery of all the aspects of care for the client, including collaborating with doctors and specialists and educating family about the client’s condition. The use of a Care Manager ensures that the client is getting just the right care at all times.
The care plan they develop is personalized according to the level of need of each client, and the staff focuses on building relationships, providing companionship and social interaction, and helping the client continue with activities and cultural interests outside the home in their own community when possible. Their goal is to treat the whole person, not just the illness. Members of the team can manage the household, advocate on behalf of the client, monitor carefully for any changes in condition, and bring in more resources when necessary.