|photo courtesy of http://www.caremanage.com/|
As I write this post, my Mother is in the hospital fighting off complications from her home dialysis. To look at my Mother one would think that she is not sick at all. She is an attractive women in her 60s, always wants to look her best (i.e. she made sure she had a manicure & pedicure before she was admitted to the hospital), is a wise counselor, has a love for home building & decorating, has a savvy business mind while managing several personal/business properties, excellent cook, wonderful mother & wife, and still maintains her feisty spirit. With her strong independence & deep love of God, she has achieved many great accomplishments in her professional and personal life.
Yet, due to her illnesses, it has severely deterred things she can achieve on her own, which has been a source of great disappointment for a woman who has always done things by her own merit (& God’s grace). Needing help from others does not come easy for anyone, especially when you are used to others coming to you for help. However, in countless homes across America, adult children are finding themselves in the position of needing (& wanting) to offer care & assistance to their elderly parents.
Hispanics, (& Italian, Asian, and African Americans) are known for caring for their elderly parents within their family. In Latino countries, it is common to find a Abuela (grandmother) or an Abuelo (grandfather) or both living with their adult children and their families. The family structure of living with older parents has been a model for many Latino families with grandparents, if they are physically able to, assisting in the care of their grandchildren. The expectancy of caring for elderly parents (or a family member) is well established within the Hispanic community with the majority of the care responsibility belonging to the Hispanic daughter (and mother of her own her family). “…an estimated 8 million Latino baby boomers, is a part of a “sandwich generation” taking care of both elderly parents and children. They’re toggling between two cultures, two sets of expectations, as they face the difficult question of how to take care of their aging parents at a time of changing demographic and economic realities…” (What to Do with Abuelita Challenges Traditions, Wallet)
However, these types of care arrangements were more manageable when the traditional roles of women staying at home & being the primary care giver and men working outside of the home were the norm. With about one-half of all American workers being women, the struggle to balance family, career, and caregiver responsibilities can cause a strain on a family. Though my own parents are somewhat independent & live own their own, family care has been needed in the last couple of years while they have recovered from illnesses or surgeries. The most recent being my sister offering extended live-in care to my Mother in my parents’ home.
Fortunately, many resources are offered to assist in the caring for elderly, whether using family care or outside elderly care. The following are a few resources to assist when caring for older parents:
- American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) www.aarp.org/bulletin/longterm
- The National Council on Aging (NCOA) http://www.ncoa.org/
- National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) http://www.ahcancal.org/ncal/Pages/default.aspx
- Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/home.jsp
- Senior Citzens’ Resources http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Seniors.shtml
- Medicare Resource Locator http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/resource-locator/resource-locator-overview.aspx
- Eldercare Locator http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx
- Home Instead Senior Care http://www.homeinstead.com/home.aspx
- Care.com Senior Care http://www.care.com/senior-care
- Visiting Angels Living Assistance http://www.visitingangels.com/
- Sitter City Senior Care http://www.sittercity.com/senior-care.html
- *Great reads for family caregivers* http://www.caring.com/articles/how-to-find-more-me-time and http://www.caring.com/caregiver