A survey of seniors over 65 years living alone revealed that 21-23% stated their health care is only part of the quality care solution. Mark Hager, AgeInPlace.com Founder and Denise Yarmlak, SafeinHome.com Director of Marketing based in Walnut Creek, discussed several current family issues and how this generation is coping with the finances, stress, belonging and quality of care for seniors living alone.
Sitting around the kitchen table, families are asking how can seniors live in their homes longer? Americans face a crisis looming for quality senior care with a shortage of caregivers compounded by a lower birth rate. Furthermore, most seniors and children do not like to have this conversation. How does one start? “Respect is the starting point based on building trust,” remarked Hager whose firm AgeInPlace.com spent the past seven years preparing families and businesses for a major demographic shift taking place. We have nearly 10 million seniors living alone at home in the USA.”
“Consider my 91 year-old mother on the East coast living alone at home,” stated Yarmlak who realized she wanted to make her mom’s life safer with SafeinHome and not just for her but for both of them. Since the SafeinHome.com monitoring solution runs in the background, the service actually gives her retired brother living in New Jersey a well-deserved break.
“When it comes to the caregiver situation, there is no manual how to be a family caregiver; this process must be navigated by the stakeholders,” explained Hager. “Thinking about the quality of care is not just about the monthly expense, but the time and effort to be meaningful as an active participant; that means making sacrifices. The role of a quality caregiver takes away from other activities, plus caregivers need quality time for themselves.”
We are witnessing a sandwich generation where a single father raising two teenage boys also has to worry about mom. Yarmlak stressed that when one talks about the family nest egg, most people are notfinancially prepared. There is a general lack of planning and it is not just financial. Seniors do not always discuss their wishes with kids about these family issues. Aging in place gracefully, requires education. Families consider money, children, housing and emotional needs, and even down to who is picking up mom’s dry cleaning or pet supplies.
“Some families who have the wealth do not make their wishes known; we have seen many families scramble and the results are not always optimal,” reminded Yarmlak. “We created SafeinHome.com to offer peace of mind because our app-enabled service allows a senior living alone at home to remain connected with caregivers and family members via smartphones. At a minimum, this connection gives us time to figure out what to do next and it preserves the family nest egg as long as possible.” stressed Yarmlak.
At AgeInPlace.com, Hager mentioned that their mission is more in thinking about people who are not just in their 70’s but 50 year olds as well. Who is concerned? Business owners, remodelers, interior decorators, architects, home builders, transportation service providers, people who run errands, manage finances, fix gutters, plumbing and even groom lawns. “We discovered that 21-25% seniors over the age of 65 years are concerned with their medical care. When we talk about quality home care for seniors living alone, we found there are simply not enough quality caregivers available and the duty is an every day responsibility,” noted Hager.
On Thursday Aug. 21, Mary Griffin, RN MPH with 35 years of experience presents a free seminar about how to start the conversation, “Aging Parent living alone?” at the San Ramon Community Center Room 101, 12501 Alcosta Blvd. San Ramon, CA 94583. Topics include answers to family questions about family caregiver stress, home safety for aging in place, in-home care services, placement services, paying for care, and resources and support services. RSVP with JoEllen at 925-478-5995.