September was Healthy Aging Month. Its no secret that we are all aging everyday and how we age is pretty much entirely up to us, except for circumstances beyond our control. Your golden years and what kind of life experience you will enjoy is considerably in your hands right now so becoming informed early in life and taking action is imperative. No doubt you will employ an in-home paid home health caregiver at some point. What is the daily life like and why even think of such days? Most people will just say I have children they will take care of me or, I don't want to think about that right now. But, it arrives very fast so best to prepare for the event and have some fun while preparing. It calls for your foresight, flexibility and fortitude to take action.
As we have heard from various news outlets and articles, there are 10,000 people reaching the age of 65 everyday in the USA. By the year 2020 there will be 56 million people over the age of 65 and 88 million by 2050.
- Where will you live?
- What kind of living arrangement have you planned?
- Who will care for you?
- How independent can you still be and stay in control of your daily living?
- How will you pay for the needed in-home paid health caregiver?
- Who will care for you when you can no longer drive, hop on a bus or train, be easily mobile?
- What will be your quality of life?
There are over 1.5 million home health care workers in the USA right now and that number will have to grow if people are to receive care when they need it. Many people of means hire in-home health care workers sometimes called personal home health aides, and that's a great option but you will have to plan. It's in your hands right now to make sure that you have some say over your independence, and how you will be cared for especially if you stay in your homes. Caring in-home paid home health workers will someday be responsible for your activities of daily living (ADLs). They will be there making sure you have your meals, medication on time, keep clean, do activities with you, take you to doctor's appointments, make sure you don't fall, get along with your family members and a whole host of other items that will need to be taken care of right away.
How will you pay for the many hours a paid in-home caregiver will have to remain in your home? Some people have an assistant for a four hour period a couple of days per week while some people need 24 hours per day coverage. It just depends on your needs and ability to pay. How do you find the right folks to stay with you and what are some resources? What is a day in the life of someone using a paid in-home health caregiver like and what are some of things you will need? How do you adjust to someone new being around all the time watching you?
We are told to exercise, eat well, save for retirement. So, after working tirelessly obeying these suggestions for years what does happen when caregiver days arrive, because they will if you are so lucky! Everyone has a much longer life span now but to assist you in maintaining good aging health you must pay attention to your diet, exercise and financial health. Are we adding those preparations or are we just waiting for that day when we will have someone else deciding for us where we will live, what we will eat, how we will dress, what kind of activities we can attend? Some people prepare for a hurricane or a blizzard by waiting until the last minute when the supermarket has no bread, toilet paper or water. Don't wait the same way to prepare for caregiver days.
The trend in where you will live is changing everyday. Many people have vowed to stay in their own homes. Others are opting for assisted living facilities, residential assisted living (RAL), and then there are memory care facilities (growing fast in number), nursing homes and of course sharing with friends. Everyday the facilities become more beautifully savvy and and a lot more expensive.
When care giver days arrive though you will need in-home paid home health caregivers for one reason or another. You cannot rely on relatives who may be having their own health issues or children living far away. How you react to this change, and how you treat the new people to your home has a lot to do with how you will enjoy your caregiver days.
There are ways we can now prepare so that more is in our individual control rather than a family member, friend or outside surrogate. We can make wills, designate a power of attorney, hire a Health Care Advocate and that's a start but being informed and taking further action is imperative. Staying connected with friends and your community is very important so you won't feel lonely.
Some of us may have been caregivers for family members but once we get through that experience its usually getting on with life and not planning for our day. We need to take this seriously because most of you are not seeing the folks struck with dementia at a young age and all the myriad of complaints that can slow a person down to the point of needing an in-home paid health caregiver. You want to be prepared for caregiver days and not wait for the moment to surprise you with few options and quick loss of your independence.
As for now while you enjoy everything on your bucket list from traveling to downsizing add caregiver days preparation to your list and consider every potential. The kind of life experiences you will enjoy when care giver days arrive can be arranged, should be planned and depends on what sort of lifestyle you chose to live now.
Ruth Y. Webster
- Caregiver Daze