By Miles McNamara
Aging is a fact of life that we will all face during our lifetimes. However, what is different about aging is that it is not something that we typically study and become proficient in. Rather, aging often creeps up on us and, once apparent, requires immediate attention. The issues of aging are also unique in that people usually only get one try. In other words, we simply do not get the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and “do it better” or “try harder” the next time.
Over 20% of American’s population is over the age of 55. Today, of the over 280 million people in the United States as recorded through the 2000 Census study, over 24 million are between the ages of 55-64 and another 35 million are age 65 or older. So what does that mean to you? It means that there are a lot of people competing for limited resources – whether it be medical personnel specializing in geriatric care, in-home care resources or retirement communities, etc. As such, planning ahead is now more important than ever.
Planning Ahead involves:
Knowing what signs to look for that may indicate functional challenges (both physical and mental).
Understanding living arrangement alternatives to be prepared if or when a change becomes necessary.
Being anticipatory and preventative.
Ensuring necessary legal documents are executed.
Developing a financial or retirement plan.
Evaluating insurance coverage options.
Creating a legacy of memories while still possible.
You are not alone. Seek support and counsel. Talk with friends, neighbors, co-workers, and other people you see frequently whether at your place of worship, clubs, Senior Center,etc. Ask them if they know of anyone you might talk with who is currently facing or has recently faced the challenges associated with supporting an aging loved one. Do not hesitate to ask. You will find people truly want to help and comfort you.
Myles McNamara is owner of Comfort Keepers In-home Care, with bonded and insured caregivers providing assistance to seniors in the comfort of their own home. He can be reached at (661) 287-4200.