By Carolyn Rosenblatt
Most of us who are middle aged and have aging parents have never had to learn about how to take care of our parents or how to best help them. We didn’t hear about this in school, did we? Lots of us don’t even know where to start. It’s confusing!
There are a lot of cuts in our government budget, but some agencies are still alive and well and helping us out with great information a click away. If you’ve never heard of the Administration on Aging, and you have aging parents, it’s a good place to find out about things you’ve never thought about until now.
There’s a consumer information section where you can get leads to elder care, an Alzheimer’s Disease call center, and other basic, get-you-started leads.
For example, there’s a link to the Eldercare Locator, a nationwide call center and website that connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services in their area.
You’ll find a link to the National Alzheimer’s Call Center, available to people in all U.S. States and territories, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It provides expert advice, care consultation and information and referrals nationwide, at the national and local levels, regarding Alzheimer’s disease.
As I’m in the consulting business for people with aging loved ones, I hear about the struggles and helpless feelings people have with their aging parents every day. I am happy to send folks to whatever resources are available. For once, there’s a reasonably easy resource that isn’t as complicated and hard to use as many government based information sites are. Like the Medicare site, which I think is rather awkward.
Our Federal government has never been good at informing the public about what it’s doing for aging persons, in my opinion. How many people have even heard of the Administration on Aging? But as we age ourselves and as our parents need more help from us, we have to get better informed. It’s helpful to have some idea, at least, about where to turn for help when things get to that point that you have to do something.
Every April 14th, I see news reports about cars lined up outside post offices, trying to get their tax returns postmarked before midnight. We are a nation of procrastinators. (Except my hubby, who does this stuff early!) We can’t keep procrastinating on taking action about our own aging and that of our parents. Planning can avert crisis. We’re going to do a lot better with planning if we know how to get started.
So, if this rings a bell with you, jump on the website for the Administration on Aging and check out even one area. Long term care information is a great place to begin. Too many of our parents never thought they’d live so long that anyone would have to worry about long term care. Now we do. And it’s very expensive.
My thought for the day is to get informed about your own aging, and where help can be found. Start keeping a file or some notes for yourself. Electronic or paper, any way you keep track of information is fine. The more you understand about resources available to you, the more confident you’ll feel when problems come up.
You don’t have to be “old” to do this. Start your planning now, if you’re 50 or older. You still have time to do a great job of it.
Taking control of our own aging is an object worthy of pursuing for all of us.