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Caring for Aging Parents: Navigating the Journey

Caring for Aging Parents: Navigating the Journey

By Rachael Mann

 

The last couple of years have come with big milestones for my parents: retiring, celebrating their forty-fifth anniversary, and turning seventy. It has brought me so much joy to see them enjoying all of it.

But it has been frightening, too.

I’ve noticed my parents “winding down.” Mom used to be a housecleaning wizard; now there’s dust bunnies on the rug. Dad used to love tending the yard; lately his heart isn’t in it. Tasks that used to take hours now take days. She’s had major dental surgery, he’s had a few health scares, and COVID is a looming threat over all of it.

I know in a few years I will have to decide whether their home is still safe for them. I’ll have to ensure they can get groceries, are taking their medications, and aren’t dangerous behind the wheel. I will have to move them to a safer place when the time comes. And I need to do this while living three hours away.

I am not alone in this. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 10,000 people turn sixty-five every day. By 2030, all members of the Baby Boom generation will be at least sixty-five.[1] This reality gets a lot of national press, but not much is said about what this means personally for the aging population and the children and grandchildren who are quickly becoming their caregivers.

Our latest book, Caring for Aging Parents: Navigating the Journey, was written for people (like me) who are preparing for this new chapter in their lives. Knowing what to do and when to do it is difficult, particularly when it comes to balancing your parents’ emotional and psychological needs for independence with their physical limitations. This book looks closely at how to meet these needs, with an emphasis on promoting personal safety while driving, taking medication, and moving around home and the community. Of particular interest are sections about finding caregiving help, both through apps that allow you to do things like refill medications and monitor blood pressure remotely and through providers who offer an array of in-home services to the aging population.

The book also looks at the difficult decisions around moving your parents—whether into your home or a facility that provides care. Pros and cons of each situation are presented, along with practical advice for finding the right facilities and programs. These sections highlight the ways your parents’ care needs will evolve, and they help you identify when it’s time to make a change.

Finally, Caring for Aging Parents: Navigating the Journey looks at how caregiving affects you. It’s easy to get swept up in your parents needs and forget your own needs. The book looks at setting boundaries for yourself mentally and through documentation like a caregiver agreement. It also discusses how to ask the right questions when hiring helpers and how to create a caregiving network of friends and loved ones. It reminds you that you are not alone and that it is ok to feel frustrated some days.

Everyone’s situation is different, and no single resource can outline the what lies ahead. However, understanding the common struggles will help you to know what to expect. Caring for Aging Parents: Navigating the Journey is a starting point for that understanding.

Link: https://amzn.to/2D7YE3E

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[1] U.S. Census Bureau. (December 19, 2019). By 2030, All Baby Boomers Will Be Age 65 or Older. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/12/by-2030-all-baby-boomers-will-be-age-65-or-older.html