February 28, 2011

Tips for Caregivers of the Elder Generation

Do you have a parent that needs care, or older relatives needing to be cared for. This can mean many challenges for the “in-between” or sandwich generation. This term, “sandwich generation”, was popularized in the early 1990's by Carol Abaya, an eldercare expert and columnist.

This is more a listing of organizations that may provide guidance or assistance for eldercare of your parent(s), or other close relative. Even though I will be listing several caregiver resources, do not forget that many eldercare religious organizations exist and may be good resources. Just because I use eldercare, many organizations have other names, “aging services”, and “elder homes” are just a few of the terms.

The following list of caregiver resources is not complete, but will give you ideas and may provide what you are looking for. Some people may not need this if their parents have planned properly.

The National Association of Social Workers (socialworkers.org) can assist you in locating social workers specializing in geriatric care.

The National association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (caremanager.org) makes referrals to eldercare professionals, who (for a fee) will assess your parents' needs and help coordinate care.

Benefitscheckup.org lists federal, state, and local benefits (other than Medicare) for which you parents may qualify.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (longtermcareliving.com) can walk you through long-term care and assisted living options.

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (naela.com) is a source for legal information and eldercare attorney referrals.

You may not need many of these services, but you should have a list available. The next thing that is necessary, before your parents are not legally able to do this, is talk to your parent(s) about having a lawyer draft two documents of importance. The first is a durable power of attorney for finances and the second is a durable medical power of attorney for medical decisions.

Have the parents keep the documents up-to-date and in a secure place like a safety deposit box. Family members should know of their location. Have the parents check with the financial institution and notify the institution of any changes to prevent complications when they go into effect. Also check with the institution to find out if they have any additional requirements that need to be addressed.

If you are the trusted person for your parents, you may be present for all of this. If there are other family members, they need to be notified to avoid future conflicts and hurt feelings. Not all families members are accepting of this, but most will work with the family member chosen by the parents.

If you are a parent with children, consider doing this for your children to avoid future problems as well.


Jazzie Casas said...

Most of my family are diabetic and I feel likely to be one.. How could I avoid not passing this hereditary thing to my kids?

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Bob Fenton said...

Sadly there is no way to prevent them from receiving the hereditary part. What many people forget is that proper nutrition and exercise can often prevent the development for many years and for some if good habits are established early and maintained, diabetes can often be delayed, and sometimes avoided.

The hereditary part is still there, and your children will still need to be aware of what may happen and to pass this information to their children. There are no guarantees about life and when or how diabetes may affect a future generation.