Caring for Our Seniors

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This post is sponsored by Ready to Care. 

Hey, friends! I don’t always post on the weekend, but I’ve got an important message to share with you today about caring for our senior citizens.  Since I’m a Baby Boomer and many of you are too, our parents are definitely aging and many of you have lost your parents.

Mark and I still have both our parents and as I watch them all get older, I’m so grateful that we have enough family around to care for them and see to their needs.  My sister and I watch over our parents and Mark and his sisters do the same with his parents. It’s wonderful that both couples are still living  in their homes and are still actively driving in their early 90’s.  That’s pretty amazing right there!

Dad had a big health scare last year with his c-diff bout that took him months to get over and mostly back to normal.  We are so grateful that he is so much better a year later, but at 91 he will continue to age and perhaps face more health issues.

It feels like we are not that far behind them.  My dad is 30 years older than I am, so my generation will continue to head further into our senior years in the next decade.  That’s a sobering thought!  We are the sandwich generation, in between children/grand children and our parents.

But, did you know?  

The aging population is growing rapidly, while the population of professional and community caregivers is going down.

Before 2020, people aged 65 and older are predicted to outnumber children under age 5 for the first time in human history.

Doesn’t that sound crazy?  That’s only 2 years away!  

By 2050, the 65+ population is predicted to be more than double the world’s youngest citizens and those living beyond age 80 are expected to triple over the next 30 years.

Isn’t that astounding?

I don’t know about you, but those are some pretty staggering statistics.  I know that many of you are close to my age or older or younger, but it will certainly affect all of us.  In 30 years, I’ll be over 90!

Today, I want to share a company and an initiative to help our aging seniors (and perhaps US in the future!).  I’m joining with Ready to Care to let you all know how you can help with this crisis of aging that is going to happen here in our country.  We need to be prepared on how we can help the situation so I’m going to share that with you today.

I challenge you today to take the Gratitude Challenge:  

  • Thank seniors you’re grateful to have in your life.
  • Then, reach out and do something kind for a senior in your life. Be the reason they’re grateful this week!
  • Next, challenge your friends (or if you’re a blogger, your followers) to take the Gratitude Challenge and share their experience.

Ready to Care helps connect seniors with volunteers to help make their lives easier and to bring people into their lives.  Here’s more about Ready to Care’s mission and how YOU can help:

Ready to Care is a free initiative established in 2018 by Home Instead, Inc.  The movement is designed to inspire more people to become community caregivers  and they provide inspiration via weekly text messages that offer care tips and missions.  The group also has an online community who shares comments and social media for those involved to share their experiences.  The biggest issues that need to be addressed with seniors is nutrition, isolation, dementia, mobility, health and safety.

Do you have a senior in your life that you regularly care for, visit in person, and look after them? 

How can we help our aging seniors? 

Ready to Care community has completed over 1,000 care missions since it was started in April 2018. It’s really simple acts of kindness that anyone can do.  Say Hi to a senior, let them know they are important, lend a helping hand with yard work, drive them to the store.

Here’s a Holiday initiative that I’d like to share with you too.  Do you know a senior with a sweet tooth?  I sure do!

Bake your Heart Out!
What are you baking this year for the Holidays, for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  From breads, cookies, candies, holiday baking is a tradition for so many of us this time of year. Why not bake some extra cookies and deliver them to a senior neighbor or relative that might not be able to bake for themselves.  You could even invite them to bake with you, or keep you company anyway.
Many seniors are lonely this time of year and some of them don’t have family members around.  Do you know anyone like this?  Baking is a great way to spread some Holiday cheer and keep them involved in Holiday traditions.
Brighten someone’s day by inviting them to bake with you and your family.  Take the time to drop off some sweet treats and visit with a senior you may know.  This is a small way to show we care for our seniors.

What is your favorite Holiday recipe to share?  
I have a few sweet treats I’ve shared here on the blog that continue to be favorites.
These Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal cookies are one of my faves for the Holidays.
This Crockpot Chocolate Peanut candy from Trisha Yearwood is one of my most pinned and clicked to posts I’ve ever done and every Holiday it comes back around.  We’ve been making it several years and it’s a winner.
So, I just wanted to share this initiative today, as when I heard from Ready to Care, I could really relate to the aging crisis and how it’s going to affect all of us.  With my own parents as aging seniors right now and the rest of us following along behind, it’s definitely something to be concerned about.  If we all do some good in this world for seniors, we can make the world a better place for older adults today and future seniors.
And don’t forget, we are future seniors!  I hope you’ll sign up at Ready to Care and get involved in helping seniors, one good deed at a time. You can follow Ready to Care on Instagram too.
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- Rhoda

Comments

  1. Good morning Rhoda! I love your post on seniors. i am so blessed to have both of my parents relatively healthy and still very active in their mid 80’s. Grateful every day. I have been a senior caregiver for many years now and have worked for various companies who specialize in taking care of seniors. It’s is a ministry and calling for sure, but the joy I get out it is immeasurable. I currently work privately with a 90 year old senior who brings such wisdom, laughter, and joy to my life. I will say this- most senior care companies do not pay their employees well, therefore the turnover is high and they tend to invite a lot of inexperienced people to the job who do not understand the importance of truly caring for our elderly. I voiced my opinion many times to the companies I worked for to raise the wage in order to get quality employees but it always seemed to fall on deaf ears. I am in total agreement with you that we need to value our older people, and realize what a privilege it is to be able to serve and take care of them! Hope this post wasn’t too far off base, but I thank you for highlighting this issue. Blessings to you and your family this holiday season! Ps the recipes look so yummy!

    • Hi, Michele, thanks for chiming in on your experiences with caring for the seniors. It’s definitely something we all need to talk about as much as we don’t like facing it, it will happen to all of us at some point. Thanks for doing what you do!

  2. my dad is 94, also 30 yrs older than I. He refused to use a needed cane for stability, pushes me away when I offer my arm to him (which really embarrasses me in public) , and that discourages me greatly HOWEVER I keep at it. At least he is mobile and active

    • Hi, Gilda, it’s pride that does that to them. My dad is pretty proud too and resisted a cane for the longest, but he finally will use it now. We just have to be patient with them and that’s hard sometimes too, isn’t it?

    • Honestly, consider this. You don’t get to be 94 without being (hardheaded) very independent. It’s a requirement.

  3. Hi sweet Rhoda! Those are staggering statistics. We just moved my 93 yo MIL from FL to an independent living place near us in S.C. It was not easy downsizing and uprooting her, but we are grateful she will be sitting at our Thanksgiving table. We used Home Instead with my mom, and thanks to them she was able to live in her own home until the very end. What a blessing.

    • Hi, Roxanne, good that you were able to move her, it’s very important to have family around all the time. Glad she’ll be with you at Thanksgiving!

  4. Jenny Young says:

    In my 50s I am years past the caring for parents stage…..my dad died when I was 17. My mother & in-laws all passed away while I was raising my family. So as a new grandmother I’m the oldest generation in our direct line. Being in the middle of the sandwich with young children was definitely something I do not wish on anyone….there were so many missed opportunities as a parent & as a daughter because I could only stretch myself so far.

    My community has a beautiful ministry called ‘Kind at Heart’. They care for seniors who have no family or no family nearby. It is all volunteer. They do everything from visiting, celebrating special days ect to yard work, home repairs & even building wheelchair ramps as needed.

    My husband was born the last year of the Boomer generation so we’re hoping by the time we reach the age of needing serious help our country will have worked out the problems with those before us.

    • HI, Jenny, wow, amazing you are the oldest generation in your family. It’s definitely something to think about as all us Boomers grow older in coming years.

  5. Thank you Rhode for caring so much about the aging! You are so blessed to have your sweet parents. Mine have passed away…..and I can’t begin to tell just how much I miss them. Just yesterday I made some turkey noodle soup and shared with our elderly neighbors…..such precious little people. Thank you for your blog. I really look forward to reading your blog everyday.

    • Hi, Sue, bless you for caring for your neighbors. It’s definitely something we should all be aware of and do what we can.

  6. Greetings Rhoda! Thank you for this post, we all need to be taking good care of the older folks! What a great reminder to me! I have a question for you, I’m about to do flooring in my home, and wondered how you like the vinyl allure ? I have been searching for some time… would love to know what you thinks about them? Blessing from Oregon! love your blog and your sweet heart! Christine

    • HI, Christine, thanks so much. The Allure tiles we put in my parents guest bath and they are a great inexpensive alternative to real wood or tile. They are holding up great, no problems about 5 years later.

  7. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Such a great post, Rhoda. This is something that each one of us can use whether with our dear parents or with others around us. I love to be there for these dear seniors. They are always so grateful for anything you do for them — and they especially appreciate you just coming over to visit with them.

    I have both of my parents in Heaven and I just miss them so much. They were so precious and now, I just thank God for the precious memories I have!

    Hope you and Mark have a wonderful weekend! Blessings!

  8. OMG! I could write a book on caring for the aging. I was the overseer of my paternal Grandparents care in a nursing facility for 14 years, then the primary overseer of my MIL (who had Alzheimer’s) for 2 years and now my Dad, who is 89 and lives in an assisted living facility. I feel so, so sorry for those Seniors with no one to be their advocate, care for them, visit them, or love them. And, there are so many in that position. I am so on top of my Dad’s well being and have expectations of those that assist in his care. A great post with staggering statistics.

    • HI, Lea, I think we are all touched by this. My parents are still living and who knows what we will face going forward. We all have to be informed and educated on the elderly aging. We have had to step in and be an advocate for my dad when he was so seriously ill last year.

  9. Rhoda,
    Thank you for reminding us especially at this time of year the great support need in relation to our seniors. Assisted living and nursing homes are also great places to visit and volunteer your time as many residents don’t have family nearby or family that visits on a regular basis. When my late MIL was in an assisted living many residents there had no family or family that seldom visited. It was so sad.

    Also, if you are a member of a church please make sure the church is also supporting the needs of the senior members or shut-ins who are no longer able to make to church. That’s means the young people need to step up and take a day and visit a elderly members home helping them with a task such as yard work, etc they are no long able to do. My late grandmother was a 40 year member of her church but when she had heart surgery not one young person from her church visited her or asked her if they could help her. However, when the youth group wanted to do a mission trip, they didn’t hesitate to ask the seniors to help out financially.

    • Hi, Teresa, you’re right about that, churches do usually step in and help the elderly, but sometimes they are forgotten. There are a lot of things that the youth can do to help, they just have to get out of their comfort zone.

  10. These statistics are staggering! God bless the home health care nurses, professional home sitters and families trying to take care for our loved ones!

    There has been enough people in our extended family to insure no one had to go to a nursing home. That’s just the way we roll. Alzheimer’s disease was the worst element of the care challenges with our grandfather and Mother. You can reason with a healthy mind, but there is no reasoning with Alzheimer! It was exhausting for everyone involved, but we were thankful to have been able to do what we could do.

    One of the many reasons I follow you blog is I relate to your love of family. Blessings to you, Mark and your families at Thanksgiving!

    • Thank you, Dian, I was so surprised at the statistics too. Very sobering where we are all headed. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  11. Hi Rhoda! Love your blog and I’ve been following for a while. Your post today touched my heart. My mom passed away 3 years ago after suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m blessed to have two sisters and a brother nearby so we were all able to care for her until she went into skilled nursing. My dad who will be 88 next month suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. He is now in a nursing home but doing well. It’s tough (really, really tough) to care for aging parents and I don’t know how people without family manage! Thanks for sharing your family’s story and reminding us Baby Boomers that we are not alone!

    Blessings and love for a Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Thank you, Beth, I knew this was a subject that would speak to many of you, so I got this opportunity for this season, I knew it would be a good one to share with all of you. Aging parents hit all of us and it’s something worth talking about.

  12. I take care of my mother who will be 96 next month. We built her an apartment in our backyard and that has worked out well. Luckily, she has a clear mind but has mobility issues. Just recently I have been seeking out sitters to stay with her occasionally. Super expensive! Unfortunately, I have no nearby family to help. You are so fortunate to have your sister!

    • HI, Jane, I knew your mom was getting up there, but wow, what a long life she’s had. So glad you are able to take care of her still. It is hard when there aren’t multiple family members to help out.

  13. Brenda Lynch says:

    Oh, thank you and your other readers for your comments. I too love to read your blog for many reasons but your sweet family is a good part of that. Your parents remind me of mine–a sweet life long love story–amazing to experience that, isn’t it? My parents were married in 1943 and we celebrated their 65th Anniversary in June of 2008 and then my healthy mom became sick in July and was diagnosed with a rare cancer and was gone in October of that same year. My Daddy loved her so and was lonely until August of 2017 when he lost his fight with a reoccurance of cancer from years ago. It was truly my honor to be the primary caregiver to both of them, with some help near the end from Hospice–we spent some sweet days together. Was it hard–yep it was, probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but probably the most rewarding- -and I can look myself in the mirror. I miss them both everyday–so remember me and give your parents an extra hug!! Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family and Thank you again for bringing this to the attention of so many!!

  14. Well at age 73 and 74 my husband and I are seniors. Both sets of our parents have been dead for many years. However, I have watched many of our friends struggle with the care of an aged parent. About 2 years ago our son made a complete career change and became the executive director of a senior living facility. This has for sure been a learning experience for him, but he loves it. I am so proud of the difference he is making in a seniors life during their last days on this earth. He has made his job a family affair. My daughter-in-law and granddaughters stop by the home and visit with the residents from time to time. And if he continues on this path, I know where I will be going when the time comes..

    • Hi, Cindy, what a great thing your son is doing and he has to feel good about making such a difference. I think we are going to need more people like this with our growing senior population.

  15. Thank you for sharing this info. I helped to care for my Mother the 3 years she was so sick. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was tough but you just manage it. I am now helping a family friend that grew up and went to school with my grandmother. She is so sweet and never complains but gets so lonely. She can’t see or hear well anymore . She is 103 years old, still lives alone and cleans her own home. I try to go see her every week and take her some home cooked food. She just sits there all day hoping someone will drop in to see her. I wish more people would think about the elderly, especially those who can’t drive anymore.

    • HI, Lynne, wow bless you for looking after than sweet old lady. Amazing that she made it to 103 and I’m sure she loves for you to come by and see her. It is sad to think there are so many elderly with no family to look after them.

  16. I always love your posts about your parents as I am in the same sandwich stage…your outlook is a both realistic and positive and I appreciate your perspective.

  17. Lauren Peege says:

    Rhoda,
    I completely agree with all of your comments. I was a sole caregiver for my 2 grandparents and my Dad. It is a difficult job!! After getting to know the staff at our local Assisted Living facility, I allowed them to talk me into working part time as a caregiver ( Resident Service Assistant ). I have a college degree, and was no longer working in my field, so, because I love Seniors and am a caregiver by nature, I agreed. Let me tell you- that was one of the hardest jobs I ever had! The Seniors are such sweet people! However, it is a very physically demanding job! I was responsible for a floor of 20 resident’s waking, dressing, bathing, administering meds, walking them to the dining room, etc. All while being paid $9.20 an hour! I loved my residents, but could not justify my very hard work for that pay. And I worked for a nationally known assisted living facility that I will not name. My point in all this is, we have to pay health care workers a living wage if we want good healthcare in our country. I honestly fear what kind of employees will be in the field in the future. I lasted 3 years just because I could not bear to leave my residents, but I had to succumb. I was age 51-54. I was responsible, had excellent reviews, showed up, didn’t call in sick etc. But we as a country need to place more value on caring for some of our most valuable citizens! Their needs are real and we need people who will be dedicated to care for them! AND PAY THEM a living wage. Until that happens, the care of Seniors is in jeopardy!
    PS- I have returned to the field of my college degree, work part time, and make a much better wage… but still love our Seniors!

    • Hi, Lauren, bless you! I completely agree with you, no one can live on that and caring for the elderly is a special calling to work full-time in the industry.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing this! My sweet mother is 78 and I cherish my time with her. The thing that hurts me is that my younger sister rarely takes time for mama and I’m afraid she will regret that one day.

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

    • Hi, Montee, it’s hard when all family members don’t pitch in, it’s definitely a family thing to care for our seniors.

  19. Care giving is the hardest job I have ever done. My husband cared or his Mom after his Dad died and it was hard, because we were both still working. I was retired by the time I had that responsibility for my Mom. I was the sole care giver for years until my Mom went to be with the Lord at almost 98 years old three years ago. It is hard physically, mentally and emotionally. It is so hard watching someone you love become frail, suffering with dementia, and have hearing and eye impairments. I didn’t have much help from my family, but she had friends that were so much help to me. Her dear friend from church and her Christian postal worker. They would “rat” on her, her words not mine, which was a huge help to me so I could keep her safe. She would get so angry because they would call me, but I was so appreciative for their eyes and ears, because I could not be there 24/7. I was at her home at least four days a week, but eventually that changed to seven days a week. It is running a second household away from your own home. We, my husband and I, made her a priority and kept her in her own home until her safety was at risk, so I moved her to assisted living the last eight months of her life. I was fortunate to find a place that really loved and cared for the people living there, but it is going to be necessary to pay these care givers a good wage in order to find quality people. Thank you for this post, it is a mostly forgotten subject and as a senior myself, age 72, it is one that we must face.

    • HI, Tee, what a great sharing of caring for your mom. It is hard and I can only imagine what many of you have gone through. We have no idea what will happen with our parents in the next few years, but we do know things will change eventually and they may not be able to live alone. It’s a hard and scary time for all of us.

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