Boomers and Aging
With the graying of America, the
Baby Boom generation is facing an unprecedented challenge: how to make decisions about our aging parents
and other loved ones. The general population
is living longer than ever, though dying of the same things that have been the
major causes of death in the U.S. for many decades: heart disease, strokes, and cancer. Many of our elderly parents are living longer
with disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, as well as heart disease, cancer or after stroke, and the gradual erosion of independence at home.
For many of us, the concern about
the outcomes of these diseases is eclipsed by the fact that we must figure out
how to take care of our elderly loved ones as they grow more infirm, and less
able to safely manage on their own, without much guidance from anyone. If you are the “responsible one” in the
family, you may find yourself struggling with many questions. Should I put Mom or Dad in a nursing home? An assisted living facility? Should I sell the house? Do I need a conservatorship? How about getting a power of attorney? What if there isn’t enough money? Should I try to take care of him/her at my
home? What if she wants to stay at home,
but she can’t remember to pay the bills?
Where should I start?
There are many resources to guide
us, but how do I find the right one for me?
In surveying the places to go for information in my own county of Marin,
California, I was somewhat surprised to find that there is no central place
where one can go to get these kinds of questions answered, especially if the senior
in question is not poor and a MediCal (or Medicaid) recipient. For the lowest income seniors, there are
community centers and other seniors’ resources doing the job of information and referral. For others, one must somehow find lawyers,
real estate brokers, care givers, care managers, financial advisors and others
by either blind luck or a lot of looking, asking and calling.
Because this information seems to
be fragmented in our own county, we were motivated to start a consulting
service in the community, with the families of aging seniors in mind. The idea is to make information and advice available in one location, and to get direction about where to go for other reliable help without having to spend hours and hours over time. Consultations here are not meant to be a
substitute for doing one’s own evaluation of what is available in your
area. For instance, you still have to
go check out that assisted living facility, the home care agency or the nursing home you are considering. Rather, they are meant to save people time by
giving some focused help in finding a direction for caring
properly for the elderly loved one. For
example, if the elder is failing to pay bills or keep track of things, the
decisions must be made to address the problem before it becomes dangerous for
the elder to be alone. Is there a family
member who can take over the responsibility?
Is a conservator needed if no family or friend can do the job? Should the elder be left alone? Is it time to
consider where else besides one’s home, the elder can safely and happily find a
new place to live with supervision?
We can help you start the process. Resources exist in most communities, though it can be very time consuming to go it alone in trying to get answers to your difficult aging parent questions.
We help people learn how to do a basic
evaluation of a nursing home, understand the contract involved, and advise them
about what to look for in alternatives to nursing homes. We help caregivers understand what legal differences exist in the way the State regulates nursing homes versus assisted living facilities and board and care homes. We discuss the interplay of legal, healthcare and psychological problems elders present. We have a solid
network of other, established professionals and service workers to whom we can
refer and whose work we can describe.
When families are in conflict over
the issues involving elders, we may suggest mediation to assist in resolving
their disputes, or working out ways to get along in sharing the sometimes
burdensome duties of maintaining the elder’s safety and good care. Even when families are scattered across the
country, telephone conferences allow us to meet with them and provide
assistance. We are both experienced mediators, helping families of aging parents to work out their differences.
If you are caring for an aging loved one, and feel overwhelmed, it is important to ask for help. If your resources are limited, there are numerous agencies in many communities which offer low cost or free help for seniors. If you do not know where to find these resources, we can direct you to the places to start your search for answers to your questions. If you want to get a great deal of information on a CD, The Family Survival Guide, can be ordered on this website.
Help With Elders is a consultation and mediation service founded by Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, R.N.,
Attorney at Law and Dr. Mikol S. Davis, Ed.D., Clinical Psychologist. Since beginning this service, we have evolved, written a book, and expanded our information to reach across the country. We offer a free newsletter, which you can access at AgingParents.com, our new website. Our book, The Boomer’s Guide to Aging Parents, is also available at AgingParents.com and here, at HelpWithElders.com. All 9 chapters are also available as mini-books. The subjects covered teach you how to handle a dangerous older driver, how to find and use a care manager, how to understand the pros and cons of assisted living, how to choose a home care worker, how to handle money for aging loved ones, how to handle family conflicts, and how to stand up for your elder in the healthcare system.
You can learn more about your individual situation with a private consultation. Our combined 70 years of professional experience is offered to help you take the fear and some of the stress out of the caregiver job. Let us point you in the right direction.
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- Warning Signs That The Elder Needs Help Handling Money
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- What is a Care Manager
- Assisted Living
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- Preventing Serious Falls
- CARING FOR AGING PARENTS
- Psychological Focus on Aging
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- Staying out of Court
- Combat Financial Elder Abuse
- Are You Possible Prey For Scam Artists?
- Elders Hoping to Win the Sweepstakes?
- Marin Senior Consultation Clinic