Tag Archives: Baby Boomers

How being a caregiver for aging parents can be one of the most challenging realities in life

The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC)  states that more than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability; an estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities; and unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 90% of the long-term care (IOM, 2008).

It is estimated that one in eight people are now official caring for an aging parent. Edward Francis, a Living Well collaborator, at Forest Health Care estimates that this is a result of the baby boom years combining with improved healthcare and an increase in the average life expectancy. This responsibility may come to these caregivers suddenly or it may become a gradual, progressive path of commitment. It requires a change to your mindset, no longer are you the child, you now need to take care of your parents as they have always done for you.

 

It can be a challenging experience to be a caregiver for a parent dealing with memory loss that eventually materializes in dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Role change

Illness can cause a gentle shift in roles but it is a lot moiré difficult when an accident changes the situation dramatically in moments. This is often the case as elder people are more prone to injury and a broken hip can have a serious impact on their ability to care for themselves. The role reversal can be exceptionally difficult for those who were never that close to their parents but do feel the need to care for them.

It can be very difficult to make the right decision in either your own eyes or your parent’s eyes and you may bear the brunt of a parent’s frustration. For your role as caregiver to work you need to accept that you are now responsible for the decisions and care of your parent.

Balance

It can be tempting to visit your parent every day or even multiple times during the day. In reality this will make the process far more difficult. You will end up physically and emotionally exhausted whilst emphasizing your parent’s dependence on you. It can be very difficult to find the right balance between being there and making the best decisions whilst providing them some space to be as independent as possible. It is essential for your own survival to maintain a balance between caring, time for yourself and your own family commitments.

Planning ahead

From the moment you start caring for your parent you will have to start thinking about the future. If their condition deteriorates will they need additional caregivers, professional homecare, or perhaps assisted living facilities are the way to go; after all one size does not fit all.

The harsh reality of knowing your parents have a finite amount of time left will combine with concerns over the future, this can become a serious burden and it is essential you share the responsibility as much as possible.

Strengths and weaknesses

Like anyone you have areas of expertise and areas which you are not so knowledgeable or good at. You may be more sympathetic than your siblings or more financially orientated and it is important to utilize the skills you have. Knowing your areas of weakness and accepting that someone else can do that part better is a better way of caring for your parent and yourself than attempting to do it all on your own.

Dealing with a parent experiencing memory loss

One of the most challenging and draining aspects of being a caregiver is when your parent starts to lose their memory. It can feel that day by day they are drifting away from you and you are losing one of the people who have always inspired you and have always been there for you. It is essential to focus on the positives; a memory problem is probably more of an issue to you than to them. Encourage them to visualize their past by using photographs and talking to them, cherish the moments you have and the experience will be rewarding instead of challenging.

Network

Both the caregiver and the parent need to have a good network of support. You need to be able to vent your frustrations and gain advice from others to ensure you know you are doing the best possible for your parent. Your parent needs to remain in contact with as many people as possible to avoid loneliness and frustration building up and making the situation worse.

Every situation will be slightly different but it will always be a challenging time and a difficult journey. Your feelings and emotions will be tested to the limit but the ultimate reward will be worth it; knowing that you were there for your parents when needed and did the best you could, after exploring all the alternatives you could have. Look for consultation with the experts in the field, even if it is a long journey, you are not alone.

Caetano Veloso on aging: at the age of 67, I feel at the “infancy of old age.”

For those, who like me, grew up listening to Caetano Veloso, seeing him getting older is just a reflection of our own aging and the multiple challenges and possibilities to unfold wellness, live well, and have a creative life into old age

Baby Boomers know well these challenges and also know well this poet of the Brazilian music. Caetano Veloso has been called the Bob Dylan of Brazil — a popular musician who has made staggering artistic and intellectual contributions to his country. The New York Times recently dubbed him “Brazil’s unofficial poet laureate”.

Veloso is consistently one of the most literate and beguiling forces in music. To see him in person is to see a sinuous, warm and joyous show in which Veloso’s vocals are backed by a young and edgy band.  Seeing him aging so gracefully and maintaining his core values is refreshing. For Veloso family is everything and he is very close to another DIVA of Brazilian music, his sister Maria Bethania, both always look for young band players who bring new styles to old rhythms reminding us constantly that old and young play together an important role for a rich community.

Caetano and Maria Bethania, are very close to their mother and they say their love for music comes from her with whom, they love to sing.  They do not shy away from politics or for family values. A great way to follow!

See them on a video with their mother

Veloso says, about his own aging: “I’m beginning to be an old man,” Veloso says. “It’s something that can excite you, because you get curious to see how changes go. You lose a lot, but you can gain a lot, too.”

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When to Tell Your Parents: They Cannot Drive Any Longer!

Some of the baby boomers who also are “adult children” taking care of an aging parent face many challenges when taking care of this task. bringing awareness to our parents can be a challenging situation full of old and new family dynamics.

In an article for Forbes magazine, Living Well Assisted Living at Home mediator, Carolyn Rosenblat, Esq. calle it a new burden for boomers and states “…Denial is a very common reaction to the early warning signs of an older driver who is becoming dangerous. This denial can occur both among the elderly, who may get frantic at the idea of this privilege being taken from them, and among their adult children, who don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of Mom or Dad becoming a burden when it comes to transportation.

So make sure you start the driving conversation with your parent before he or she is 85–and preferably, when the parent is still safe to drive. My own mother-in-law is 87 and still drives…” Read the article

Baby Boomers May Need to Find New Care Networks to Care for Their Golden Years.

In a paper presented at the 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, held this week at Concordia. University in Montreal, Jacques Légaré and other researchers at the Université de Montréal, stated that Baby Boomers will need to be creative when it comes to find new alternatives to senior care.

“…Who are tomorrow’s seniors going to call when the going gets rough? Today’s young adult may not have a child to help out when they become older? Today’s adult is having less children. Because of this when they are elderly they may need to have non-traditional support networks or pay for the care that past generations relied on their own children for. That’s the findings of Jacques Légaré, professor at the Université de Montréal. Légaré studies aging baby-boomers. Baby Boomers are a generation that had fewer children and were less likely to have a stable marriage. Légaré  stated that until 2030 the family circle involving senior citizens will be evolving. For about 70 percent of today’s frail seniors the family circle provides care. Generally that care comes from the children or their spouse. They are the last population before the baby boom after World War II. Today’s Baby Boomer generation is rapidly hitting the golden years but not with the same family security that their parents had. With divorce, blended families and common-law unions the family scheme is vastly different than in their parents’ day. Adding in medical advancements that have increased life span brings an unclear picture of who is going to care for those unable to care for themselves. “Tomorrow’s elderly – today’s boomers – had far fewer children. Who will take care of them?” Légaré asked, “They risk finding themselves in difficult circumstances and might have to turn to the public system or pay their way.”

Read Legare’s Paper

Dispelling The Myth: Baby Boomers Are Not as Healthy as They Think They Are

Many people age 55 to 64 have chronic conditions, but technological improvements have widened their health care options.

The oldest end of the baby boom generation, people now age 55 to 64, is consuming health care in greater amounts than same-aged individuals did in prior generations, according to a March report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Victoria Stagg Elliott of amednews staff says: “It’s an interesting age group because they are the next one eligible for Medicare services,” said Virginia Freid, the paper’s lead author and an NCHS statistician. “This presents a real concern for Medicare in the future.” Read More