I never thought of myself as an addict, but I did end up addicted to anti-anxiety medication after developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At some point, the medicine stopped being a way to deal with the nervousness and panic attacks, and became something my body craved. I knew that I needed help fast. Fortunately, a local drug rehab program includes support for people like me. They helped me wean off the medication, use methods like massage therapy to help my nerves heal, and even provided ongoing counseling for our family. I don't know how I would have made it without their help. If you suspect that your medication has crossed the line from being helpful to hurtful, take heart. Let me tell you about my journey out of addiction and back to wholeness.
Boomers all across the United States are facing the prospect of caring for aging parents, often while they themselves are still in the workforce and raising families of their own. It can be a big, stressful job, and planning before there's a crisis can make things easier for everyone.
Talk to your parents, if possible, while they are still able to make decisions for themselves. Worried about how to initiate what is often a very daunting conversation? Start early, while your parents are still healthy. Plan your conversations at a time when your parents have time to talk. And make sure you have time to talk, too. It's also okay to start small. In your first conversation, perhaps focus on their health. For the next, plan to talk about insurance. Then could come finances, and then end-of-life wishes. Don't try to do it all at once.
Of course, it's not always possible, and it's not always easy. In the event you haven't had the opportunity to have "the talk," here are some other key things to focus on while planning your parents' care.
What is the current state of your parents' health? (Fewer than half of baby boomers have information about their parents' health.) Do they have any chronic conditions they are already managing? Understanding existing medical conditions can help you think about — and plan for — alternative or assisted living arrangements, if and when that becomes necessary.
Make it your business to know how to reach their doctor. Many aging adults have trouble being fully honest with their doctors about their symptoms, often due to fear of losing their independence. Sometimes it can help for you to call the doctor in advance of an appointment. Consider asking to accompany your parent to their appointment.
There are many government programs that can provide support — financial and otherwise — to both you and your aging parent. Take the time to learn the landscape before you are in crisis mode. Research the benefits offered by the U.S. government, for example, or check in with the National Council on Aging.
Are you ready or prepared for the impact your aging parents may have on your life? Can they move in with you and your family? Do you have the ability to take on additional financial responsibility, if needed? How will you handle the likely increase in the amount of time you will need to spend taking care of your parents' lives, from driving to and from medical appointments and helping them shop, to helping them remain plugged in to social activities, which are key to their emotional health?
It can be a difficult time of life, for both you and your parents. It may help to remember this is a normal part of life and nearly everyone goes through it. Reach out, talk to others, and check out other resources that provide support to caregivers like you. Click here for more information.Share