With seniors making up the fastest-growing age group in Canada, millions of adult children are faced with caring for aging parents. Tips to support the sandwich generation.
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 12, 2012) -
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It's one of the hardest facts of life. As you get older, so do your parents. The people that gave up so much to care for you are now turning to you for help. But where do you start? How do you give them the support that they need - coping with chronic conditions and multiple medications, while at the same time balancing your own already busy schedule?
According to Pat Irwin, founder of ElderCareCanada and expert in assisting adult children in caring for aging parents, the key to successful caregiving is being prepared.
"The role of caregiver can be incredibly stressful at first," explains Irwin. "In addition to being financially and physically draining, most people are caught off guard by how emotionally strenuous it is. Knowing what to expect and how to handle it, as well as being prepared and putting support in place for emergency situations, can help alleviate a lot of the stress."
Together with the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation, Irwin has developed tips for caregivers coping with multiple health conditions, multiple medications and parents that are no longer able to manage their own healthcare.
Managing multiple conditions and medications
One-in-three seniors live with more than one chronic condition and it's typical that they are on multiple medications. Missing, mixing up and wrongly combining these medications could lead to dire consequences.
Caring from a distance
"Caring for your loved ones from a distance is possible, but you will need help and support," says Irwin. "Trying to contact your parent, fearing they are ill or in distress and alone is a frightening experience."
Tips for caregivers from the Alzheimer Society of Canada
"1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia," says Mary Schulz, Alzheimer Society of Canada. "People with Alzheimer's disease sometimes lose the ability to recognize familiar places, to communicate or to remember their own name or address. They may leave home, become confused and get lost - which can be dangerous for them and worrisome for family and caregivers."
About the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation
The Canadian MedicAlert Foundation is the largest membership-based registered charity in Canada and has been the provider of emergency medical information services to more than one million Canadians for 50 years.
While there are a number of medical ID devices on the market, only MedicAlert is supported by a unique 24/7 emergency hotline service staffed with medical professionals ready to provide information and recognize conflicting treatments and medications that could put your care, or the care of your loved ones, at risk.
The Foundation's services include electronic health records, a state-of-the-art secure database, a 24-hour emergency hotline for EMS personnel and customized identification products. Learn more about MedicAlert, how it works, and how you or a loved one can become a member at MedicAlert.ca or by calling 1-866-679-3166.
After caring for her elderly parents, Pat Irwin became frustrated with the lack of support and advice available for caregivers so she got busy, and in 1999 she founded ElderCareCanada, a consulting service assisting adult children in caring for aging parents. Pat Irwin's specialty is effectively managing the family dynamic between seniors, their adult children and adult siblings.
ElderCareCanada builds on consulting and service-quality training in developing strategies with families so they can plan together to get things done, including in-home care, housing options, relocation assistance, absentee care management, and strategies for long-term care, estates, Wills and funerals.
About Alzheimer's Society of Canada
The Alzheimer Society is the leading nationwide health charity for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Active in more than 150 communities across Canada, the Society offers Help for Today through our programs and services for people living with dementia and Hope for Tomorrow… ® by funding research to find the cause and the cure.
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