With Life Expectancy Increasing, Mark Terry Discusses Keeping Our Loved Ones Happy and Healthy in SENIOR Magazine
Colorado Springs SENIOR Magazine
What Do We Do When We Live So Long?
Keeping our loved ones and ourselves happy and healthy
Mark Terry – Right at Home
The senior boom is officially upon us! In 1776, the average life expectancy was 35 years of age. In 1880, it was 45, and today it is 75-plus years and growing. In fact, projections are that by 2020 there will be more than seven million seniors over the age of 85.
We’re all thrilled that we and our loved ones are living longer. In fact, our parents may live 10 to 20 years longer than earlier generations. However someone will need to care for some of them. Any woman reading this article will likely relate to the following facts about caregivers: 75% of caregivers are women with an average of 57. 39% of caregivers have children at home and 63% are employed elsewhere. One-third of caregivers have lost time from work caring for a family member.
Since the generation which has traditionally cared for seniors is now working outside the home, we need to explore other options. Not only do we need to explore options to ensure that our family members are taken care of, we need to ensure that we take care of ourselves. It is a proven fact that in many instances caregivers health declines faster than those who they are caring for because caregivers often DON’T take care of themselves. So, let’s explore some options to keep us caregivers healthy.
As caregivers explore options with loved ones there are several things to consider starting with what are the lifestyle demands. For instance, is there an expectation to be independent and continue to participate in hobbies/activities? How about the physical, mental and spiritual health? And, of course, there are financial considerations. Are our loved ones passive or assertive, are they talkative or quiet, do they smoke, will they maintain drivers licenses? Do they need to be relatively close to friends, family, and what about pets? Make a list of all considerations prior to researching options.
When the list is complete, it is time to look at our options. Those include home care, assisted/independent living communities, skilled nursing homes, adult daycare, telephone assurance programs, volunteer visitor programs, hospice, the Alzheimer’s Association, Meals on Wheels and senior centers. There really are resources to assist in this sometimes seemingly overwhelming task.
Once the top three choices are identified, it is imperative to schedule a visit to the communities, or schedule a time for the home care agency to visit. Then once the top option has been identified it is time to check references. That’s a great way to have peace of mind and to know that all is being done to make the best choice. Once that choice is made, we’ll be able to take the best care of our loved ones and take better care of ourselves.
Author Mark Terry is president/owner of Right at Home with offices in Colorado Springs and the Denver Metro area. Right at Home is Colorado Springs’s largest non-medical home care agency specializing in care for seniors and adults with disabilities. For more information about home care or any other senior services, call 719-634-4999