Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

How to be a senior’s child

You know you’re getting older when… your back goes out more than you do.

You know you’re getting older when… getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.

You know you’re getting older when… you confuse having a clear conscience with having a bad memory.

These are all just humorous anecdotes, but they bring up the point that old age can sneak up on you.  If you think back to when you were a child, it was hard to imagine your parents getting old.  Although your parents probably felt as if your sole purpose was to steer them into an early grave, from your view, your parents were freeze dried in a state of young parenthood. Then, as if in the flash of a photograph’s time, your parents became “elderly”.  The roles have now reversed and you find yourself facing the dilemma of how best to care for them rather than them caring for you.

Did you know that persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.1 years (19.4 years for females and 16 years for males)?. Which means if you are now 65, you will most likely live to be 80-85 years old.

And, how will you know if those years will be healthy and productive or unhealthy and burdensome years?

Growing older is not like growing up. It is somewhat easy to predict the basic care a child will need the first two years. But care needs for the elderly are directly related to frailty, not age.  And frailty is not predictable. Will your parent’s eyesight or hearing deteriorate?  Will they have a debilitating stroke?  Will Alzheimer’s settle in?  There really is no way to know when or if these situations will occur.

The cost for care needed is also directly related to the extent and type of frailty as well as what informal support is available. Since we cannot predict the future, only speculate and project based on what we now know, it is best to try and be prepared for the future as an aged person, or as the son or daughter of an older person.

Writer Maggie Von Ostrand writes, “There are ways to plan for one’s financial security after reaching the age where you’re asked if you want help to the car. Several telemarketers have tried to sign me up for financial planning, but I always tell them I already have financial planning. If they ask what my Plan is, I tell them I went to my son’s house and said, “Which room will be mine?””

Although there is a wealth of information available about elder care, the most common question hospital discharger planners hear is “Why doesn’t anyone tell you about the problems and cost of care?” The problem is that oftentimes people do not seek out this information until a need, most often a crisis, arises.  And that crisis is usually when care is immediately needed and no one is ready a) for providing that level of care or b) paying for it.

corecubed has a robust home care marketing program that provides a wide range of information for those who are either seeking care for themselves or for a parent or loved one. Smart home care agencies are members so that as the needs arise, they are positioned to give answers and get that phone to ring so they can do an in-home assessment, and then, if the situation is right, provide in-home care.