Caring For The Elderly – Understanding the Need
Caring for the Elderly – Who Are They?
Caring for the elderly is an important issue facing the baby-boomer generation, now approximately 45-65 years of age. Current statistics suggest that many of today’s working force will live well beyond the expected limits of the past. The Federal Agency and Forum on Statistics1 projects that over twenty million seniors over the age of eighty-five will populate the United States by the year 2050. This is an increase of almost seventeen-million seniors compared to the three million that were living in 2000. In the early 1900′s, less than five million Americans reached the age of sixty-five. As of 2005, almost forty million men and women are attaining the age of sixty-five, and beyond.
Caring for the Elderly – What is Involved?
Caring for the elderly is multi-faceted and often emotionally difficult for the caregiver. It requires that forgiveness be freely given and old hurts be dealt with. The caregiver (often a son or daughter) must be the one who is able to “get over” emotional hurdles and move on with providing quality care for the aging parent. Issues unresolved during their vital and productive years are unlikely to be confronted now by parents facing a myriad of issues related to growing older. Caring for the elderly often involves the following:
- Provide a home
- Offer legal help and support
- Help with financial responsibilities
- Arrange resident nursing care
- Deal with mental health and medical issues related to aging such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.
- Meet their socialization needs
- Help the elderly make decisions, including those about dying, i.e. living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc.
How will you shoulder this enormous responsibility? Will you be able to see beyond old hurts as you make necessary preparations to care for your aged parents? How will you help an elderly member of your family deal with declining health and aging issues while still maintaining respect and preserving dignity? How will you face the challenges of caring for the elderly?
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