My mother fell and hurt her knee. She’s 86 years old. I am thousands of miles away. My sister lives in the same town as my mother which makes her, by default, my mother’s caregiver. I feel guilty. That is not uncommon for siblings who are not able to provide assistance to parents who live in another town — or on another continent. There are situations where it is impossible to be the primary caregiver, whether you want to or not.
As seniors, we want to do the best we can to be self-sufficient and to take care of ourselves. But sooner or later [hopefully later] we will have to depend on others to look after our well-being. This is a message to the next generation. Think about who is going to be your caregiver. If you can count on your children, fine. But remember, there are professionals standing by who can help support the entire family. But if you have seen the headlines lately, you realize there is a looming crisis. There will be more people who need assistance than there are people available to offer it. These are important things to think about as we age. As we have said many times in the past, sooner or later you will be a caregiver or one receiving care. We are fortunate that Generations Magazine provides a great deal of resources to help us all with our specific family needs. In fact, the cover story of this issue, Living A New Normal, highlights the importance of caregiving and offers some insights and additional community resources.
And, just remember, that although you may not always be able to be by a loved one’s side, a simple phone call to check in or sending some photos of grandkids can go a long way in making someone feel loved.
The Elderhood Project airs on KHON2 Friday Morning news at 5:45a.m. and Thursday at 5p.m.