Baby boomers brace for eldercare challenges
By Colleen Van Horn, RN, B.S.N., PHN, CCM
Many of the nation’s 76 million baby boomers are by now well versed in the art of parenting; but when it comes to eldercare for their own aging parents, a new national survey suggest that most boomers are woefully unprepared. CBS News reports that, according to industry survey results, a startling number of individuals lack even basic information regarding their parents’ financial and healthcare information – a trend that could leave large portions of the population with heavy economic and emotional burdens in the years to come.
Of those polled, nearly half were unable to name the medications their parents need for balanced health. In addition, roughly one third of all respondents were unsure where family financial information was stored, and uncertain as to whether or not their parents even maintained a safe-deposit box. As AARP Magazine executive Ken Budd explained on CBS’ “The Early Show,” engaging elderly parents in a candid conversation about these and other issues is critical to successful, comprehensive senior care – especially when taking an aging loved one’s personal wishes and needs into account.
“Care-giving tends to be a gradual process,” Budd said; “but the key is to have the conversation…to get this on the table.” Budd added that, at some point, everyone should make a “full assessment” of their parents’ condition – one in which individuals can determine whether or not they need to research assisted living options, and discuss in-home alternatives if needed.
As difficult and sensitive as such conversations can be, Budd recommends that they take place “early and often.” Ultimately, he says, planning is the best way for children to stand by their parents, and “respect… [their] desires as they move forward in life.”
Plan ahead – and enlist local management experts to ensure optimal care for your parent
Creating a custom care plan for an aging parent may seem overwhelming; but with the proper information and tools on hand, anyone can reduce the stress and cost of quality eldercare – and bring comfort and security to their loved ones in the process:
- Start early. Don’t wait to speak with your parents about their financial plans and healthcare needs: early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other ailments can affect memory, concentration and clarity in seniors and impact their ability to communicate in an accurate manner.
- Locate and organize key information. Medical records, medication lists, physician contact numbers, safe deposit box keys and financial files should all be identified, labeled and stored for easy access and reference.
- Discuss living arrangement preferences. Do your parents have health concerns that will require them to seek assisted living care? Or would they be more comfortable remaining at home as time goes on? Ask these and other preference questions in order to determine the right plan to suit both your budget and your parents’ desires.
By anticipating the complexities of parent care, San Diegans can help alleviate the uncertainty and emotional distress involved in assisting an aging loved one. However, even the most organized individuals may require assistance when making arrangements for their parents – and that’s where Innovative Healthcare Consultants comes in. With over a decade’s worth of local experience in geriatric healthcare management, Innovative Healthcare Consultants is San Diego’s leading resource for comprehensive care advice and guidance. Our staff of fully-trained, compassionate professionals helps individuals and families as they navigate the sometimes staggering world of senior healthcare, ensuring that both parents and children alike find the care systems to suit their unique needs, priorities and budgets.
Learn more about how to prepare yourself and your family for aging parent care online: www.innovativehc.com.
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