Baby Boomer – Some of us are in that famous “Baby Boomer” age group. We don’t have to admit where we are in that age group but it seems as if we are constantly reminded about this reality. We plan for vacations. We plan for our finances. We plan for social events and when we can get together with friends and family. How much time do we spend thinking about and planning for growing older? It is not as exciting as planning for a vacation or a family gathering but it needs to be considered. We often hear about how we want to stay in our own homes for as long as possible and in the best case scenario, for the rest of our lives. Home is where we are comfortable and Home is where our memories are.
If this is the case, we need to plan for it. I know people think that health care dollars should be able to support us at home but do the numbers. This is not possible! When should we start thinking about a plan? When lawn work becomes difficult? When keeping up with house cleaning becomes more difficult? When going downstairs to do laundry becomes harder each time? When you start to feel unsteady on the stairs or are nervous about falling getting into the tub? These are all tasks that we have found in our Home Care services that begin to be trying as people age. Clients in their 80’s are calling their 50-60 year old children to do these tasks at times when their children are very busy with their children and work. Usually it is one child who lives closest that tries to fill in the gaps. No longer do we have large families who can share providing the help parents need. In fact, often some of our clients’ families are on the other side of the world so that physical presence is impossible.
What can we do about the growing needs? Our Government says they will put extra money into Home Care. Will they and will it be enough? How much is enough? Should everyone get 6 hours a week of help and then add paid for private care? Should the number of hours paid for be determined on need? What if some need 40 hours of help a week to stay home? Can our system afford this if the tax dollars allocated to home care are well managed?
There are so many questions and few answers. I think realistically, we have to start thinking about these questions when we are in our 40’s, 50’s and for sure by the age of 60. Do we have enough money to pay for services? What services are most needed? Make a list of the necessary tasks to keep the home going. Think about what furniture we need and use….that favorite chair, the corner table where we put our papers and the chair that is easiest to get in and out of. Think about what can go and what should stay. Reducing clutter helps make the house easier to navigate and is safer. Go through pictures and keepsakes. Should some of them go? Check the kitchen. What utensils do you use and what is just taking up space? Check carpets and other flooring. Are they well attached? Loose carpets can be hazardous so can that favorite rug go? Check the bath area to determine if grab bars should be installed. Most people could benefit from something to hold on to.
We should not wait until there is a crisis to think about these questions. If we gradually get into the declutter mode and put our homes in order maybe less help would be needed. From our experience these supportive measures are what most people need to stay at home safely. Maybe the so called baby boomers are already thinking about their plans for staying at home or downsizing. Maybe it will be easier for us than for our parents. Maybe we have already sorted out storage places and have contracted out lawn care and home cleaning. I hope so. Start thinking about lifestyle changes not because we are getting older but because our interests and needs change at different phases of life.
Suggestions and comments are welcome.
Comments, ideas, suggestions are welcome.
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Health Access Home & Nursing Care