The aging of Baby Boomers we are also seeing a new kind of caregiving on the horizon. When our parents or grandparents were discovering old age and the health care needs; the more traditional home was if the husband needed care he stayed home and the wife our mother or grandmother was the caregiver. When it was the woman who needed the care, sometimes the husband would provide the care, however many times it was the daughter or daughter-in-law who provided the care.
Today as couples age and care is needed many times we see the husband caring for the wife, until into the latter stages of a disease process. Much of this is due to a changing of values within the care giving system. Dr. R. Kane, Chair of Long-term Car and Aging at UM of Public Health, in a report to NextAvenue.com address the ‘delivering care to the elderly is badly broken’. The report goes into the changing of concerns and the objective of today’s elderly when looking at health care.
And at NextAvenue.com in another article is this series; the article addresses ‘when would you…’. Both of these articles are connected by navigating the medical care and mental care models of care available to our elderly. The question ‘when would you…’ is aimed at the need to provide help and assistance to our elderly family members. Although this conversation should have started perhaps somewhat earlier in our lives, it is not too late to begin now. Take the opportunity to know what are the elderly’s wishes and what are the most important for each of us (children, grandchildren and spouses) to know about the especially important ideals our loved ones want.
It may come as a surprise to some of us, that our loved one does not want treatment for some diseases. And even more important a surprise is that our loved ones have the legal ability to make that decision. So to make this transition from healthy into a care situation, we must know the desires and wishes of our family and friends; so that we will not add to the burden. Many children and grandchildren find it difficult to understand the motivation of our person; however it is important for us to honor their wishes.
These family talks are most easily accomplished while enjoying a relaxing evening together without TV, loud or crying children and especially when the husband and wife are in the same room with us. Seated in a living room or family room enjoying a last bit of coffee provides for a relaxing environment to begin the conversations, which will most likely impact each and every one of us.