Archive | August 2012

Protecting Aging Parents

In a country where the economy has bottomed, hard times have struck everyone. Unfortunately for our elderly, their fates hang by a thread. As the economy shrinks, so do their benefits, retirements and savings.

Our parents were raised during a time when saving every dime counted. They worked hard jobs, medial tasks, and sometimes more hours than we can imagine, to provide for their families. As our country grew in wealth our parents were able to save—their intentions, not to provide for their own care as seniors but to leave a small pot of gold for their children. They want their children to have what they could not have.

Sadly enough, our seniors are prime targets for scam artists and lazy family members looking for a free ride on the small nest eggs they’ve saved. Many seniors will pay more than their fair share to others out of fear—fear if they need help, they won’t be able to get it.

Take time to look at the harsh reality of our aging seniors and the trials they face from those they think they  “can trust.”

One gentleman pays his yard person $250 a week to mow his yard, no bigger than three cars parked side by side.

An elderly woman pays a young girl $500 to buy her groceries for two weeks, never to receive her groceries or see the girl again.

An elderly man, unable to cook for himself, longed for biscuits and gravy. A young man brought him them the food from a local fast food restaurant and charged the man $100.

All too often, these are challenges our seniors face daily. The fear and insecurity of needing assistance and not being able to receive it forces them to fall into scams like these. It is not uncommon for our elderly to lose entire savings, even their homes to individuals who pass themselves off as “trustworthy.”

How can you help?

You can help by reporting any suspicious activities to authorities i.e. driveway paving, home repair deals, or anything where seniors are asked to give personal banking information or their social security number.

If you live next to an elder, make a point of checking on this individual regularly. Reassure them you are available should they need help and encourage them to keep their banking information private. No reputable person will ask for that information.

Should you notice a steady influx of strangers, contact a family member and verify the constant traffic.

Remind elders not to give personal information over the phone. Any services they need can be obtained at the local offices.

Suggest a welfare check with local law enforcement. These are simple pass-bys done by city or county law enforcement.


How to Report Abuse

If we do not take an active role in the protection, both physically and personally, of our aging parents and friends, who will? Abuse of any sort may be reported by calling the following numbers:

Adult Protective Services – 1-888-277-8366 or Sullivan County S.A.L.T. Council by calling 423-279-6042.

Help care for our aging seniors by becoming involved. It’s easy, and it’s important. Recommend an agency such as Comfort Keepers to help aid in the assistance of seniors, offering a safe alternative for senior care.


When Roles Reverse

As children of aging parents, the thoughts of role reversal never crossed our minds. For years our parents have been available to help us when we called. They’ve served as babysitters, car repairmen, chief errand runners and in some cases, provided a secondary home for their own adult children, so the thoughts of role reversal haven’t entered the picture.

 When we as adult children come to a sense of reality that our parents are aging, it’s a harsh realization. Unfortunately many baby boomers have become so dependent on their aging parents to assist in their own lives, that giving up that help is difficult at best.

For example, baby boomer’s parents statistically have become the baby sitters for their grandchildren, and though this is a task they’ve enjoyed and one baby boomers have taken advantage of, there comes a time when it needs to cease.

Marylou was a divorced mom of three children and in order for her to provide for her children, her parents, Ed and Margaret opted to be the childcare providers. As Marylou’s kids grew and became parents, Ed and Margaret continued to care for their great grandchildren, until Margaret fell carrying her infant great grandchild through the house. Ed was in the garden for several hours and Margaret lay unconscious on the floor while the infant laid face down screaming.

This is reality and though Marylou’s daughter was upset her grandmother had fallen, she did not opt to seek childcare on a grander level.

Equally, Ed and Margaret were upset. Margaret’s hip was broken and their devotion to their grand daughter made it hard to discontinue as child care providers. It’s time for the roles to reverse.

Learning to look and recognize the signs of aging parents, then accepting the responsibility that the roles are reversing is important. Aging parents may not want to give up their current responsibilities and pushing them into something they aren’t ready for can be equally as detrimental. Therefore, start now recognizing the positions your elder parents might have.

Are they over age 70? And though they may be in good health, is age 70 a fair age for them to be managing the affairs of their children and grand children?  Pay attention to their size and frame build. Aging parents generally begin to thin, and their bones become more brittle. Look at their eating habits, and the amount of time they sleep. Then take note. Is it time to reverse the role and allow them the freedom to enjoy their golden years without risk of injury or frustration.

Talk with aging parents and find out what you can do to assist them. Begin to introduce the idea of having them “pampered” a bit as they grow older. Perhaps allow someone to come into their home once or twice a month to help clean or run errands. Introduce them to a company like Comfort Keepers and as their health begins to decline they’ll be more apt to accept outside help.

Be a considerate adult child. Return the love, attention and care that your parents have freely given to you through the years. Is it time to reverse the role?

What About Our Elders

By Cindy Sproles

“Place the elderly in prisons. They will get a hot shower a day, video surveillance to ensure immediate nursing assistance (i.e., in the case of a fall – many elderly victims will be stuck for hours without assistance,) three meals a day, access to a library, computer, TV, and a gym. Put criminals in nursing homes. They have cold meals, lights off at 7pm, one bath a week, live in a smaller room and pay rent at $4,000 a month! It’s pretty sad that we treat prisoners better than the elderly. (But not surprising.)”

In September 2011 this paragraph hit Facebook and thousands of blogs across the country. Though unsure of its origin, hundreds of thousands of people posted and reposted this paragraph to show their disgust in our country’s health care system and in protest of the twisted idea of elder care.

Though, as Christians, our plight is to love our neighbor as ourselves, it’s hard to find the justification in a system that seems this twisted.

Example: Marybeth had tried for days to contact her elderly neighbor, Stella. Stella had family but they lived out of town so Marybeth would check on her weekly to make sure she had food. Today, she called 911 and after hours of waiting for permission, firemen slammed in Stella’s door only to find her at the foot of her steps, walker upside down, legs twisted, and deceased.

Stella received a minimal check from Social Security, barely enough to pay her power bill. She had no one to help her apply for food stamps and no money to even pay for a medic alert button. Stella died as a result of neglect.

Thousands of our elderly, our national treasures – warriors of this country’s freedom and rights, are left to fend for themselves during a time in their lives when they are least able to manage.

Aging bodies take even the sharpest mind and deteriorate personal skill levels to a point of need. Some require massive assistance while others simply need help dressing. The point is simple. Do to others as you would have them do to you Luke 6:31.

Family is important and for so many who no longer have this luxury, it’s a need that should be met.

Whom ever wrote the phrase, “Place the elderly in prison,” may have had a point. At least in prison our national treasures would have care.

As the year begins, remember Luke 6:31. Remember our elderly and ponder on the fact someday you too will be in need. Cherish your aging parents, love your neighbor, treat others as you wish to be treated and lift a hand to assist our elderly. It may be you who is the difference in life and death.

Comfort Keepers, Kingsport, TN

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. – Maya Angelou

Aging is inevitable. Nothing we do can stop the pull of time. 2011 Baby Boomers came of age. The post World War II babies grew, matured and now are turning 65. Not only are Baby Boomers turning 65 but they are now the generation caught between their own retirement and caring for their aging parents. Modern medicine has extended our health and the elderly are living far beyond those of yesteryear. Now, their care is a rising issue.
More and more Americans choose to remain in their current home communities, preferring to “age in place.” Contrary to popular belief, only a small minority move to warmer climates at retirement and fewer than five percent reside in nursing homes.  As one client recently stated in a note, “certainly makes quality of life easier for me.”
Medical statistics show seniors allowed to remain at home fair better overall. Their overall quality of life is happier, and though health issues may arise,
recovery progresses faster in their own homes. But the question remains, “Is living at home really safe?”
In some cases, no.  However, with assistance from professionally trained caregivers, seniors can not only remain in their home but thrive there.  “Comfort Keepers’
signature philosophy of interactive caregiving takes a holistic approach to care that allows for integrating the physical, mental and emotional health of each client, enhancing quality of care,” says Linda Bambino, owner of Comfort Keepers
First Row: Wendy Smith, Linda Bambino, Theresa Bright
Row 2: Rebecca Trent, Cindy Sproles

“As the continuing care of our aging adults increase, the need for individuals trained in “tender-care” climbs. There is security in trusting the day-to-day needs of family members to individuals who are well trained and caring.”

According to Bambino, “many people do not feel they can afford these types of home care services but there are programs out there if you have the time and patience to pursue them.”  Many veterans do not realize they may be entitled to veterans pensions or qualify for Aid and Attendance.  Many retire from their places of employment and may have long term care insurance benefits. Other financial institutes offer additional funds for the homeowner such as a reverse mortgages.  Other state and community based programs are available for those who qualify.
Comfort Keepers strive to employ individuals with a passion and love for the elderly. The agency remains diligent to provide clients with the highest quality of life
and dignity achievable during their golden years. By providing individuals assistance with the basics of life, such as light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation and daily living skills, the key desires of seniors to remain at home in an environment where they are safe and happy becomes a reality.
The standard of Comfort Keepers of Kingsport reaches deep into the heart and belief of our staff who believe the care industry is not only grounded in integrity but love and compassion. “Our offices function on strong ethics and honesty and we search for those same qualities in our employees.”
Hundreds of families entrust the care of their loved ones to Comfort Keepers. Individuals may contact Comfort Keepers for a free in-home assessment and guidance on quality in-home care for their family members.
We believe in preserving senior’s desire to do what they want, by helping our elders remain happy and at home. Visit us at our offices at 1134A Moreland Drive, Kingsport, TN or call 423-246-0100.