Americans have always prided ourselves on a certain kind of boostrap ethos, but sadly, with an aging generation of Baby Boomers, many older U.S. citizens are no longer able to fully care for themselves. With longer life expectancy, the population of Americans over the age of 65 will double to more than 72 million in the next three decades.
And because up to 90% of seniors say they want to remain in their homes, also known as “aging in place,” many older Americans are too proud to ask for the help they need. And for adult children with parents unable to maintain their quality of life, the responsibilities of care giving can be overwhelming.
Adult caregivers are often placed in an impossible situation — they know their parents can no longer manage their day to day affairs, but their parents absolutely refuse to admit that they need help. The strong connection between parent and child, and the confusing inversion of the parent-child relationship, causes anguish to thousands of Americans.
Fortunately, most cities have resources in place to help. Some possible options include:
- Home Health Agencies: These services can provide skilled medical care for aging parents with specific health needs. Unfortunately, they can also be expensive. For those who refuse help, home health is often not an option.
- Senior Care Services: Although it can be similar to home health care, senior care services provide non-medical, companionship services. This can include everything from help refilling prescriptions, to showering, to help driving to visit friends and family. For those who refuse assisted living or full-time elder care, senior care services can provide part-time care that can drastically improve quality of life.
- Caregiver Support Groups: Although it’s hard for many people to understand, the stress that often comes with caring for your own parents can be profoundly isolating. Fortunately, more and more support groups are forming so that adult children can help each other.
- Community Support: Many nonprofits, religious organizations, and community groups provide volunteers and resources for older Americans and their families.
If your parents are too proud to ask for help, that doesn’t mean you have to be, too. There are a number of options available, from senior care services to volunteer organizations.
Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Good references here.