Friday, August 11, 2017

The Talk: Valuing Aging & The Aged

Aging is mostly hidden from Gen Xers. 

The generation next in line to Care Give for parents and others.

Off on their own, many of them living far away from family and relatives, socializing with "their own kind" they seldom visit or interact with society's "aging population".

A new industry has grown and is booming based on this "abandonment" of a whole segment of our population -- Continuum Care. 

You simply sell your home, move into a "condo" with "all the conveniences" and then advance at an unknown and totally unexpected faster pace into more and more managed care and less and less autonomy and freedom of choice.


Depends on how much we have to "invest" in the cost of living as we grow older.

What costs, you might ask?

Well, what does that contract say you're signing? 

What adjustable rates are there for what services?

Is there a monthly fee? 

As that residency "ages" just as you age, who's responsible for upkeep, maintenance and what kind of control do they have over those costs?

Many now advertise they have "stepped care" meaning you can continue to live with them no matter what your mental or physical care needs may be --- NOT QUITE TRUE.

If you require medical care beyond what the facility has available, cannot provide and you cannot provide at your own expense -- YOU MAY BE ASKED TO MOVE OR BE MOVED.

IMPORTANT:  There are no blanket guarantees. Even with Medicaid, the facility Dr and others can "put together" paperwork that can affect the continuation of someone in a specific facility.

REMEMBER:  One of our most difficult possibilities as we age is OUR MIND and how it determines what we say, how we act, what we do or don't do and what functions vary or fail and at what rate.

All ages need to be more cognizant of reality regarding residences and their actual practices and promises.

Each of these "care giving" centers, no matter how they advertise their services, are HOUSING & PROVIDING SERVICES for human beings who lose a great deal of self determination depending on the practices and legal inclusions in contractual agreements AND SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF ALL OF THESE FACTORS ON A YEARLY BASIS.

We brag about how the average life span is lengthening and how we're living "better lives" than our predecessors. 

On a local TV program today, an "info-mercial", a local Financial Planner said the latest figures show the average life span is 86. 

I think that may be a little high but it's still far higher than the age of 65 which was the determining point for Social Security being established as few lived to that point or longer back in the late 1930's.

We have Heart Disease, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and that most dreaded of all DEMENTIA .... but ...WE'RE LIVING LONGER!

Who prepares us to "care give" for our aging population?

Who educates us in what it means to grow old?

Who teaches us about aging as a process?

Who gives us the foundation to build relationships and responsibilities with and for those who have come before?

Schools teach us about who "WE" are.

We're taught how to navigate and negotiate through stages of OUR lives basically from the point we enter the educational system until we leave. 

Sometimes we get limited education on working and socializing with others. 

Rarely are we taught the importance of each age group in our society and how important it is to learn about and understand each segment.

We need to teach our children how the world is centered on ALL:  Ages, stages, beliefs, concerns, languages, colors and contrasts.

To educate everyone that aging is normal, to be expected and accepted and to understand what may cause changes along with "aging" -- medical life events like a TIA or stroke, what Dementia really is and how to work with and through the challenges experienced, what accommodations can be made that make life easier and how they can be done and supported by everyone.

It took years for the founder of Paraquad in St Louis to get people's attention to the NEEDS of those with physical limitations and laws passed (like the handicap parking signs so common on parking lots and streets).

We need to grow in tolerance, understanding and recognize it's critical to talk, to plan and to start with our very youngest citizens to educate and develop concern beyond themselves, for others of all ages, stages and abilities -- or lack thereof.

Fear of the unknown starts early. Seeing and not understanding, not asking questions and finding answers causes us to look away, turn away and in the end seal the fate of today's generations and our own.

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