I believe feeling ‘old’ is often a state of mind rather than a chronological age (or maybe it’s just someone who’s been around a bit longer than you). But most of us have had some experience with caring for a family member or friend who needs help as they age. And like it or not, most of us will eventually need help eventually, and few people I know want to end up in a nursing facility.
So who will take care of you so you can continue to live at home? The Age of Dignity: Preparing For the Elder Boom in a Changing America, describes the difficult life for those who currently care for our seniors. As baby boomers age, the US will have many more elders needing help – and most likely not enough workers to take care of them. If you’ve ever been in the position of having to help parents or other family members while taking care of your own family and holding a full-time job, you know why this role can’t only be fulfilled by family members.
Author Ai-Jen Poo is Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, an organization which is seeking to transform how we care for our family by taking care of those who work for us. A home care aide generally works extremely long hours, receives low pay and few if any benefits/time off. Especially with so many of us reaching 65 soon, this situation must change.
My Aunt Minnie lived at home until she died peacefully at age 98 with the help of two dedicated home attendants. I am still in touch with one of those women (have been unable to reach the other), and her life is still very difficult. But because of these women, my aunt was able to live a long and happy life in the environment she loved.
Ready The Age of Dignity and learn how we can help those who currently care for our families – and may eventually care for us. If for no other reason, do it so you can eventually live out your life the way you would want to.