Senior Connection

Dec 27, 2010

Visiting Our Aging Parents for the Holidays: Something You Didn’t Expect
Courtesy of Forbes

.....but how do we spot the trouble signs when they first show up in our loved ones?

It’s sort of like noticing wear and tear on a car. When the first thing wears out, you start noticing lots of other things. “I never noticed so many of those rattles before”, you might say to yourself. Your consciousness of the problem is raised. You’re aware. You spot other signs because you’ve spent time thinking about the age of the car. It’s the same with our parents. We need to think about their vulnerabilities, the changes in their habits, the wear and tear of life. We need to raise our own consciousness.

What should we be looking for? We should be checking out our parents for things that are subtly or obviously different from what we’re used to seeing in them. Memory problems are the first and early warning signs. Did Mom forget a part of the meal, or lose track of cooking? Are there unopened bills on the kitchen table? Is the yard or house in disrepair? Did either parent forget that we were coming to visit?

All of these may be signs of early disease process, depression or other conditions that need our attention and our action. We must not fear insulting our parents by asking them about what we observe. It’s a loving act to bring it up in a respectful way. We can’t stand idly by pretending that nothing is changed. Families who do this may end up with parents who have been financially abused, due to dementia, or whose parents are seriously neglected. Parents may be less able to care properly for themselves lately and it’s up to us to protect them as best we can.

From AgingParents.com, here are Ten Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help Handling Money. Look for them on your next visit:

  1. You find late notices from a utility company, cable TV, or other monthly recurring bill in your parents’ home.
  2. Your aging parent repeats himself or herself in speaking to you, telling you the same thing or asking the same thing over and over in a single conversation.
  3. Your aging parent shows signs of unusual paranoia, suspicion, or mistrust of something or someone he/she has always trusted. (It could be you!)
  4. You aging parent has a new “friend” who is hanging around a lot, and seems to pressure your parent into doing things he/she would not normally do, including writing checks.
  5. Your parent is not well groomed as she has always been. You see dirty clothing, unkempt hair, or other clues that she has forgotten to take care of herself.
  6. Your parent is suddenly very interested in contests, sweepstakes, and other “get rich quick” offerings and has been giving out personal information and his phone number to enter them.
  7. There is a change in your parent’s giving habits for charitable organizations, which have resulted in large, unusual contributions, out of the norm for your parent.
  8. Your parent is recently widowed, and has never handled the family finances before. She is avoiding the subject of money.
  9. Your aging parent is socially isolated, due to losses, by geography or by choice. There is little activity outside the home and he seems lonely.
  10. Your aging parent has always been proud, stubborn and secretive about money. Even though he’s having trouble keeping track of his bills, he strongly resists asking for your help.
Going home for the holidays can still be a fine experience. And, it may create a new responsibility for us boomers. Watching over Mom or Dad becomes another task we need to undertake. Setting aside time for a frank talk with aging parents about their finances, adding a day to our visit, and creating an opportunity to plan ahead can save untold heartache for our future.

From forbes.com

Dec 14, 2010

Aging Network to Embark on
New Level of Volunteerism

Collaboration of Aging Organizations to Create
“Engaging Volunteers in the Aging Network:
A National Resource Center”
www.n4a

Volunteers in the Aging Network* have been delivering for over 40 years. Delivering meals to homebound seniors, delivering rides to doctor’s appointments, delivering counseling to seniors on benefits, in addition to countless other vital roles. With the rapidly aging population, the demand for volunteers to deliver these services and others continues to grow. Based on this impending need, the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) recently awarded a grant of nearly $1 million to create a National Resource Center to further develop and support the work of volunteers providing services to older Americans and their family caregivers. The National Resource Center will deliver the assistance and expertise volunteers need to bring their efforts to a new level in the Aging Network.

“Volunteers have always been the backbone of the Aging Network. But we want to ensure that volunteers, especially older Americans, have the opportunities to use their lifetime of learning and skills to help address America’s challenges and to enrich their own lives,” said Assistant Secretary for Aging, Greenlee. “This Center will help us better understand the changing needs of volunteers.”

The AoA grant was awarded to a collaboration of aging organizations that are dedicated to serving older adults and the Aging Network. The collaboration, led by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), includes the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD), the AARP Foundation, Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI), the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA) and the University of Michigan (for evaluation). AoA will work with these organizations to expand the capacity of the Aging Network to engage volunteers nationwide.

“This strong collaboration is uniquely positioned within the Aging Network and with older adults across the country to create the necessary leadership and infrastructure to develop effective and replicable civic engagement efforts for older adults, especially boomers,” said n4a CEO Sandy Markwood.

The three-year project will: conduct research on civic engagement; convene thought-leaders to help develop a plan of action on volunteerism for the Aging Network; develop communication and outreach tools to reach aging services leaders and volunteers across the country; create training programs and technical assistance resources for volunteers and volunteer coordinators; and identify and promote best practices.

“Volunteer engagement is a natural fit for the Aging Network, and the time is now to bring the leadership, skills and connections of the Aging Network fully into the civic engagement arena,” said Markwood. “Our collaboration must create a new vision of community service along with a persuasive call-to-action to attract the attention of Americans, letting them know their help is needed and there are many opportunities for them to get involved.”

THE MISSION OF CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS AGENCY
ON AGING

To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.