New Caregivers and the Stay-at-Home Parents
New caregivers are growing in numbers. Why? The baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age at a rate of about 8,000 per day. By 2030, we’ll see the older American population grow to just over 72 million. That’s about 20% of the population.
As many of us age we will require more help to remain safe and independent. And a lot of that responsibility will fall on the shoulders of our adult children.
These new caregivers will hopefully be up to the task with their roles varying in many different ways as the conditions and environments in which we live. If you know of a new caregiver (or perhaps you are one), there are certain things you can accomplish relatively easily that will help your elderly loved ones to live safely in their own homes.
- Get a HIPPA form for the primary care physician and all medical doctors your loved one is seeing. This will give you the ability to converse with medical professionals about concerns with your loved one’s medicines, symptoms, diagnoses and appointments.
- Use home healthcare services when possible. When it is prescribed by a doctor, your parent can benefit from visits by nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and even get help with bathing. Under the right conditions, the costs are covered by Medicare.
- Get the name and numbers of neighbors and friends close by. This will help when you’re away and concerned about your loved one not answering the phone.
- Make some written reminders for daily activity. For example, post a note to remind them not give a stranger personal information on the phone. Post information by the main door to remind them not to open the door to strangers. Make an easy-to-read refrigerator list with contact info for yourself, other siblings and caring family members and their doctor.
- Watch their use of medications and make sure they are eating correctly. Making use of a daily pill organizer will help to simplify matters some.
- There are monitoring systems that are designed for these specific tasks. Some are able to tell if you haven’t taken your medicines or even opened your refrigerator. AARP suggests this one, but there are others.
You may decide, in time, that there’s a need for you and your elderly loved one to live together in order to provide better care with less
worry. Or, perhaps it’s time for an assisted living center to provided needed care.
Either way, the time you spend caring for others may seem like a chore at the time. But I believe that caregiving can be a rewarding gift. In giving of ourselves to others, we gain peace of mind knowing we’ve done what we could to help them achieve a quality of life they would never have had without you.
If you’re considering how you can help another, maybe even becoming a new caregiver for an aging parent, good for you.
I hope your experience is as rewarding as mine was.