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Archive for the ‘Caring for Elderly Loved Ones’ Category

Boomer Women and the Burden of Elder Care

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, 65% of older adults who need elder care rely solely on family and friends for assistance.  It is also very interesting to note that women perform 50% more elder care duties than men and more than 70% of the most demanding caregiving activities – according to Laurel Kennedy, president of Age Lessons.

The Caregiving Nature in Most Women

Although many women seem ready and willing to take on the care of their elderly parents – or are even expected to – the fact of the matter is that most of them are reaching their tipping points.  Women have a caregiving nature about them, but in this case, it may be too much to handle.  Boomer women are stuck caring for their young children, still supporting their older children, and providing caregiving duties to their senior parents.  And…this is all in addition to their full time jobs, finding time for their spouses and of course, much needed time for themselves.

Siblings and Elder Care

The reality is that in so many family situations, siblings don’t do enough to help one another in sharing the responsibilities to care for their parents.  Typically one sibling is left to do the bulk of the work – and usually it’s a woman.  Such women often experience a lowered sense of overall happiness, added stress, frustrations and possibly even depression.

What Can Be Done?

Boomer women caregivers can alleviate some of their burden by:

  1. Arranging a family discussion to develop a contract or agreement which will clearly outline the caregiving tasks that must be done, and which siblings will be assigned to each task.
  2. Taking advantage of community resources which offer counselling, useful information, assistive devices for the home, personal support, and respite care.
  3. Hiring outside services to assist with household chores, grass cutting, snow removal, etc.
  4. As elderly parents’ conditions worsen, consider adult day care or the use of professional in-home caregivers even on a part-time basis.

Vacancy Rates for Seniors’ Residences in Canada

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation conducted a recent survey revealing an average vacancy rate of 9.2% in seniors’ residences across Canada. The survey polled 2464 Canadian seniors’ residences to gather vacancy rates, rental costs, and the types of housing available to older adults throughout the country.

New Building Developments

Bob Dugan, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s chief economist says that the anticipation of a spike in the demand for seniors’ housing because of our aging population, has spawned the new construction of many new residences which in turn, has led to a much higher average vacancy rate in the interim.

The 2464 residences surveyed inhabited 176,845 seniors, and of this number, 81% of them lived alone. Most rental prices per month were inclusive of all meals and the average national rental price for a bachelor unit was $1774 per month.  Prices varied from residence to residence given the difference in services and amenities offered at each location from a high in Ontario of $2519 per month, to a low in Quebec of $1271 per month.

Not to much surprise, the survey found that rental rates were significantly higher in Canadian seniors’ residences offering heavy care - as opposed to those housing units with a more independent style of living and less intensive care.

Senior Living for Your Loved One

Are you caring for an elderly loved one?  There are a wide range of options available to accommodate senior living in Canada and the United States.  Learning about your choices is the best first step.

Are You Playing The Parent Role For Your Own Parents?

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Many baby boomers have parents and elderly loved ones who are aging quickly and who are now in demand of help and regular care.  Boomers are finding themselves caring for their mothers and fathers as they simultaneously attend full time jobs and hold a responsibility to care for their own children.

Parenting, whether for your parents or your offspring, is exhausting and time consuming.  Boomers who take on the role of parent to their elderly mother or father find themselves shopping, driving to appointments, acting as a regular companion, cooking, cleaning, and fixing items around the house.

  Studies show that many family caregivers are married women who work full time.  The stresses of such a role don’t stop with the caregiving tasks themselves, because for most, caring for an elderly parent is also extremely taxing on their emotions.

Many family caregivers deal with resistance, anger and frustration from their parents when they try to help.  In the eyes of your parents, you’ll always be their child, and for many boomers’ elderly parents, this is a life phenomenon they didn’t experience firsthand – making it that much more difficult for them to understand what you’re going through.

You Can’t Do It All

Don’t be afraid to come to the realization that you can’t do everything on your own.  It is important for you to accept this so that you don’t find your life run by elderly loved ones who are unaware of the implications of the situation.  Consider hiring help wherever you can.  A house cleaning service, yard work professional, or grocery delivery service could take some of the workload off your shoulders.

Talk to Your Siblings

Discuss the circumstances with your siblings.  If you find you are accepting responsibility for too much of the burden, address the situation with others in the family.  Find out how they can help.  Even the smallest of gestures can make a difference.


The more you set the stage for open communication, the more comfortable your parents will feel talking to you about the changes they are experiencing.  Unfortunately, many seniors keep quiet about the help they need because they are embarrassed, scared, or don’t want to be a burden on you.  

By keeping the lines of communication open at all times, you will encourage open and honest conversation so that you can understand the troubles they face on a day-to-day basis.

Keeping Your Parents’ Home Safe

One of the biggest concerns among baby boomer caregivers is the safety of their parents in their own homes.  Elderly parents become forgetful, absentminded and disoriented.  They want to do everything they can to stay in their homes, but yet they will not take proactive measures to ensure their own safety.  This is up to you.  Look into assistive devices, safety electronics and elderly emergency systems on the market to help your parents stay safe in their homes.

Plan for the Future

Have a plan in place for future living arrangements your parents may need.  Sometimes the rate of deterioration can be fast, so when you begin to see physical or mental weakening in your elderly loved ones, it is important that you are prepared for the day when adjustments need to be made quickly.

If you are the person your elderly parents rely on for help, it is important that you are also prepared for any unexpected emergencies.  Will you be able to help them whenever they call?  Will it be possible for you to take time off work?  In the case of an emergency, will you be available on a moment’s notice?

Take Care of Yourself Too!

Do everything you can not to forget about yourself.  Eat well, exercise on a regular basis and get plenty of sleep.  The healthier you are and the better you feel, the more you’ll be able to help the loved ones who need you.

  Don’t hesitate to seek support.  There are many resources available to help you cope with the stresses of caring for your elderly parents.  Research your community to find support groups, respite services and other useful information that may be of great value to you.

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