Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Aging is a Family Affair

By Sharon A. O'Brien, SC; RN, PG; BSW, RSW; CG 
Executive Vice-President of Policy & Education 
at Senior Watch 
Are we ready for the unexpected? There is not one of us who can say with certainty that we know what is "around the corner" or as some say, "what is coming down the tube". For years we have heard the Boy Scouts proudly declare, "Be prepared". How prepared are we, whether we are at 28 or 82, for the curves life may throw our way?

How many of us have wondered who would take charge if something happened to us or how we would respond if we were suddenly required to provide care to a loved one? Again the question needs to be asked by the person who is 28 as well as the person who is 82 or older. Many caregivers today, both men and women, are well into their 80's. Who will be in control of the care received? What practical steps can be taken now to prepare? 

What is a person saying to us when they drop hints such as "there is an envelope in the desk drawer I want you to read if I become ill"? What could we do now to prepare ourselves for the moment we have to fulfill the wishes of that envelope and we become the caregiver for a loved one? 

There are three main tasks for all of us to undertake: 
  1. We must come face to face with the reality of our mortality. Life just does not go on forever. We need to know what to expect and what we can do now to help make our older adult years enjoyable and comfortable.
  2. We must communicate our hopes and our dreams, our wishes and our fears to those who care about us. Whether it be a daughter, a son, or a spouse who assumes the responsibility of caring, we must be fair and provide the road map we have chosen.
  3. We must begin now to prepare for the challenging times ahead. How can we do this? Where can we turn? 

Senior Watch Inc. has developed sessions to assist both family caregivers and those requiring care to prepare for what can be a very rewarding experience. These sessions focus on the changes and challenges of aging and the steps that can be taken now to reduce the risk of later problems. Opportunities are given to identify community resources. Caregivers are challenged to acknowledge the impact of caregiving on various family members, and to develop practical ways of providing appropriate care, while the issue of "self-care" is kept in the forefront.

What is around the corner? None of us knows. However, we do know we can have some degree of control in what happens. It really does pay to be prepared! Want to deal with the issues? Give us a call...506.634.8906 or Toll Free: 1.800.561.2463

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