Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Innovative program to keep seniors at home

The Salem News reports on a new program where adult children or other healthy adults are paid $18,000 per year to care for an elderly person at home. I’d like to know more about this program. It’s certainly a step in the right direction. While $18,000 isn’t a lot of money, especially for 24/7 care, it might provide just the incentive for a person to try to provide care at home. Especially since nursing homes in California are running upwards of $6,000 per month!

It would be wonderful if the long-term care insurers would see the benefit of participating in such a program. Ours won’t allow payments to family caregivers. Too bad. They would actually save a lot of money, or we would be able to extend the benefits over a longer period of time if they would.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Long Term Care Planning Guide

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging has a Long Term Care Planning Guide on their website. You can download a pdf file or have one mailed to you. It’s pretty basic, but if you haven’t begun to consider long term care insurance, it’s a good start.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pending Crisis in Eldercare

Ken Connor writes about the present and pending crisis in eldercare in "Abused, Neglected and Forgotten: A Call to Conscience.” He says that three factors will soon place aging Americans at even greater risk in long term care facilities. Those factors are demographic, economic, and cultural. He doesn’t paint a pretty picture, especially for us Gen Sandwichers and suggests that we’re facing a multifaceted crisis that will require a multifaceted solution. Worth reading and considering…

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Marriage and Caregiving

Christianity Today’s Marriage Partnership offers a series of articles focusing on marriage relationships for Gen Sandwichers, especially those who have taken on the responsibility for their aging parents. It’s a long post, with several articles on the page, but well worth the read if you are struggling with balancing parents and marriage.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Overprotective Boomer Parents Invade Their Children's Job Interviews

In a report from Australia, reports on parents, known as helicopter parents, who get just a little too involved in their kidults school and job decisions. Of course, this would never happen in the US. Right?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

A Busy Visit to Check on Aging Parents

We spent two days at Mom’s last week. Another difficult and frustrating time. The main purpose of my visit was to attend her doctor’s appointment. We had been concerned about a screening result she had received, but her doc wasn’t at all concerned. I’m not sure he’s doing a good job for her. He seems to be so nonchalant and unconcerned about every symptom we bring him. But she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings by switching. My step dad, on the other hand, switched from him upon discharge from the nursing home. His new doc seems to be doing a good job, although Mom thinks he’s too young. I haven’t been able to attend any of those appointments, so can’t really evaluate him.

Meanwhile, Mom is even more frail than last month. Tired and frail. And discouraged. Feeling the loss of all she had loved. And in the process, she’s not being realistic. She wants to take Dad out on day trips, but can’t think clearly about what she would do it there was a problem. She’s becoming more childlike in her thinking and reasoning abilities.

And Dad isn’t much better. He resents the fact that she can’t (he thinks “won’t”) bring him home. Neither of them understands that 24/7 care is very different from a couple of hours. And a couple of hours wear her out. But neither of them can hold that in their minds long enough to understand. I don’t think there is dementia. They manage well in most other ways. But in this area, their wants outweigh their common sense. It breaks my heart to watch them trying to cope with all their losses.

While there, I was able to have a care conference with Dad’s caregiver, arrange home PT for him, take him out to dinner, arrange a new phone service for Mom, review their finances, transcribe the phone messages Mom couldn’t hear, and arrange for mail order prescriptions. And visit and hopefully encourage them. There never seems to be enough time to do all I want to do, so I always leave feeling smooshed.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Snapshot of Caregiving in America

My Decide has an interesting article on caregiving in America, based on data from AAPP. The same site has many other excellent articles on caring for aging parents. Worth checking out.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Health Care Costs Expected to Increase

A study conducted by the U.S. Medicare and Medicaid centers suggests that U.S. health care costs may almost double over the next 10 years to $4.1 trillion annually, or 20 cents of every dollar spent, according to a study by federal economists and actuaries.

The estimate is based on a 6.9 percent average annual growth rate in health care spending. The study also predicts that increased government involvement will increase costs, and suggests that we aren’t necessarily getting better health care for the increased costs.

And yet, there’s a push for increased government involvement through universal health insurance. Why?

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Get Your Estate in Order!

Elizabeth at GenBetween writes about her uncle’s death and the problems in dealing with his estate. Her father is the executor, but guess who’s going to get to do most of the work?

She says, “Stop reading blogs, and, go get your estate in order. Right now.”

And to that I say, amen, amen! Four adults spent three months full time clearing up my mother-in-law's estate. Not fun—and her’s was in pretty good shape except that she hadn’t moved in 40 years.

But worse was an estate that was given to the university and program where my son was a student. The school was the trustee and responsible for everything. When the woman died, I think all they did was remove the body. We were part of a parent group that went in to deal with it several months later. It took months and we literally had to look through every piece of paper (where we found money and other valuables), every piece of underwear (where we found a diamond ring) and the attic (which reeked with cat and rat). As we worked, we all vowed to get our homes in order. Of course, I haven't yet, but I'm sure more organized than I was...


Are You Saving Too Much for Retirement?

Tom Blumer at BizzyBlog offers some down to earth advice on saving for retirement. He questions an AtMarketWatch article where the author suggests that Americans are saving too much for retirement. He counters this with some very reasonable “what ifs” that bear consideration.

As I read about Social Security, Medicare and especially the impact illegal immigration is having on these already precarious programs, I don’t think we Gen Sandwichers can save too much for retirement. And if we do, well… our kids will be a step ahead.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Senior Advice for the Sandwich Generation

I just ran across what promises to be useful site, the Senior Solutions Advisor Magazine just launched. Limited content so far, but I'm going to bookmark it.

Another interesting site is the Family Caregiver Alliance, which offers an assessment of family caregivering free online and a variety of white papers and other documents. Great resources.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Even Frail Parents Should Have a Say

Liz Taylor in Medical Week News suggests that our elderly parents have the right to make their own decisions, even if we consider those decisions to be wrong. That’s a hard word, but one that offers respect to them.

She says, “We are parents to our children, but we are never parents to our parents. It may feel that way sometimes, but it's important to know that a healthy relationship with our parent even when we're providing care is still an adult-to-adult transaction. You can disagree with your mom, consider her her own worst enemy, tell her she's heading toward disaster. But she doesn't have to "mind" you or pay attention.”

We have a friend whose father was a life long missionary. Now retired, he still travels the world, visiting missionaries. I asked my friend how he handles this. After all, his dad is getting older. He says, “I know that someday I may have to go to Africa to retrieve him, but I know he’ll go out doing what he loves the most. I owe him that much.”

Interesting perspective. I try to remember that in dealing with my mom. What is it that causes me to want to protect and control her? I know I don’t want her to suffer from foolish mistakes, but who am I to insist that her decisions are foolish?

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sorry for the Absence

I apologize for being flaky this week. I've been frantically preparing all the last minute details for speaking at a large conference this weekend. I'm keynoting in two tracks and doing a total of six workshops. More than I usually do in a weekend. I finished this afternoon and start speaking tomorrow. I'll be back this weekend.

Meanwhile, I ran across a notice of what looks like an interesting conference in the Nashville area. It's the "Living in the Sandwich Generation" seminar on March 10 at First Baptist Church. Looks interesting.