Caring for Ailing Parents

portrait of asian father and son.

Parents care for children, and then children grow up to become parents and care for their own children.  That’s the natural order of things—except when it isn’t.

Sometimes parents cannot care well for themselves, and need others to help. This is when children, purely out of love and concern, often begin to care for a parent.  Sometimes the caregiving journey is short-lived, because the need for care is temporary—such as when a parent has surgery or goes through treatment to regain health.  Sometimes it’s a long journey because the parent has a chronic illness such as dementia, or the after-effects of a stroke. When a child cares for an ailing parent, how is the parent/child relationship affected, and what can the child do to make the journey easier?

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8 Unselfish Ways to Put Yourself First

Our CaregiverU Program Director, Faith Unger, has a great mantra: “Caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint.”  All too often, caregivers are thrust into the role of taking care of a family member, with little warning and no training.

Wright at receptionAccording to the American Psychological Association, it is estimated that informal caregivers – typically spouses or adult children – provide 80 percent of the long-term care in the case of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Their 2003 study found that caregivers had a 23 percent higher level of stress hormones and a 15 percent lower level of antibody responses than non-caregivers.

Caregiving also takes a psychological toll. According to the National Family Caregivers Association, the roughly one out of four caregivers who care for a family member for at least 36 hours a week – basically making it a full-time job – are more likely to show signs of depression or anxiety.  Relative to peers who don’t provide on-going care, spouses can be depressed or anxious six times more often; adult children suffer these problems twice as often.

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May Is Older Americans Month

May Is Older Americans Month

prom_luluThe month of May represents national “Older Americans Month,” when communities across the country recognize older Americans for their contributions and demonstrate the nation’s commitment to helping them stay healthy and active.

This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, communities are focusing on how older adults are taking charge of their health, engaging in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.  President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law in July 1965. Since that time, the Act has provided a nationwide aging services network and funding that helps older adults live with dignity in the communities of their choice for as long as possible.

While AGE of Central Texas provides programs, education, and resources to older adults and their caregivers year-round, Older Americans Month offers an opportunity to emphasize how senior adults can access the home- and community-based services they need to live independently.  We are honored to be a part of the live of the older adults and family caregivers of this community, and to join them on their journey.

Thumbing Your Way to Health

large_article_im1466_Top_5_high-tech_health_trends_to_watch_in_2014What is better than learning how to use a smartphone for the first time?

How about learning to make your mind and body healthier with your device? How about taking a class from your peers? Then catching up with them over a cup of coffee after class?

The marriage between health and technology is becoming stronger every day. With the upcoming reign of wearable tech, the relationship between our digital devices and our bodies will grow. The AGE Computer Lab is here to help our community navigate it.  Continue reading

Does a license make a difference?

How does someone go about deciding if an Adult Day Care center (ADC) is a good fit for a loved one? There are many factors, but one important consideration is the question of licensing.

We understand that it’s not easy to entrust a loved one’s well-being to strangers. That is why licensing is important to AGE of Central Texas– we want to do everything we can to reassure family caregivers that our Adult Day Health Centers are safe and held to the highest standards.

In Texas, the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) licenses and surveys adult day care facilities to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations to protect individuals who are receiving these long-term care services.

Some of the requirements that licensed adult day care centers follow include: Continue reading

FREE Caregiver Seminar: Respite Options for Caregivers

Saturday, March 12
AGE Building: 3710 Cedar Street, Austin, 78705

For more information or to pre-register, please call Bruce Kravitz at (512) 451-4611 or

Join us to hear a panel of experts discuss options for respite care including
in-home care, faith based respite programs, adult day programs, and short
term residential facilities.

For more information on the programs of AGE,
visit us online at or call 512-451-4611.

This event is generously sponsored by:
Assisted Living Source 1-888-213-2731

Respite is available on-site at Elderhaven by reservation only. To RSVP for respite, contact Katy Bigge at (512) 458-6305 by March 9 .
Elderhaven is an Adult Day Center that provides care daily (M-F) for the elderly with nurse oversight in Travis and Williamson Counties. Call 458-6305 for more information.

This seminar is part of an on-going FREE educational series presented by AGE.
Save The Date:
April 13, 2011
May 14, 2011
July 9, 2011
Sept. 10, 2011

Life Inc: Health care costs for retirees could top $100,000

By Allison Linn, senior business writer

If you want to stay healthy in retirement, you better start saving your pennies.

Even with Medicare coverage, new research finds that 65-year-olds who retire this year could need more than $100,000 to cover co-pays, premiums and other non-reimbursed medical expenses through retirement.

The costs are likely to be higher for women than men because women tend to live longer, according to the report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Of course, everyone has different health care needs, and no one really knows what their health will be like in retirement, so there are a lot of uncertainties. And although the researchers believe that the recently passed health care reform bill will reduce some costs for retirees, they say out of pocket expenses remain substantial.

If you are comfortable with a 50 percent chance of having enough money saved for health expenses, the report finds that a man retiring in 2010 at age 65 with average health care expenditures would need $65,000 in savings. A woman in the same circumstances needs $93,000.


AFA: Baby Boomers Face Uncertain Financial Future with Caregiving and Long-Term Care

A great article in the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America newsletter on the real life impact of caregiving and long-term care options. -SP

The overwhelming majority of baby boomers who double as caregivers are changing their retirement expectations and current lifestyles, and female baby boomers in particular are unsure of how they will pay for their long-term care needs, according to two separate studies by Humana Inc., a health and supplemental benefits company, and AARP, respectively.

The Humana survey showed that 80 percent of baby boomers are rethinking retirement, including 44 percent who expect to work longer and 21 percent who plan to change or start a new career after they retire. It also showed that many boomers are making other considerable sacrifices to care for aging parents: 46 percent have given up social activities, 43 percent have skipped a vacation and 36 percent have dipped into personal savings. While 81 percent of respondents said they felt appreciated for providing such care, more than one in three said they felt helpless. Among those who were caring for parents and children simultaneously, known as sandwich caregivers, more than three in four say they are stressed about health care costs ahead. The survey included 1,000 Americans aged 45 to 64 who are caring for parents or other family members.

Similarly, the AARP survey found that six in ten women aged 45 to 64 have not yet determined how they will pay for their long-term care needs It also found that 40 percent were not aware that long-term care includes services other than care in a nursing home, and that personal savings will likely be used to pay for future care needs.

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America here.

NPR: Long-Term Care Program Debuts In New Health Law

From NPR News
April 2, 2010
By Julie Rovner

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act will help Americans save money to meet the cost of long-term care as they age. The program will especially benefit senior citizens.
The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act will help Americans save money to meet the cost of long-term care as they age. The program will especially benefit senior citizens.
It got precious little debate in either the House or Senate, and President Obama didn’t even mention it when he signed the huge health bill into law. But buried within the new health care overhaul is the first-ever federal insurance program to help Americans meet the often crushing costs of long-term care.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, better known as the CLASS Act, was one of the last legislative efforts of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA). He added it to the health bill last summer as it was moving through the committee he chaired in the Senate. While some lawmakers questioned whether the program would, as promised, actually pay for itself, it remained in the measure to the end.

“Long-term care supports and services have been the forgotten element of people’s health care needs,” said Judy Feder, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and professor of public policy at Georgetown University. “People who need help with the daily tasks of living need medical care, and they need these daily supports. They don’t distinguish between the two.”

Read more here at NPR News

Holiday Visits May Be the Time to Discuss Home Care

From the Right at Home website.

For most of us, winter holidays are wrapped up with family traditions. Mom’s top-secret turkey stuffing recipe and beautifully decorated table symbolize Thanksgiving. Heirloom ornaments adorn the Christmas tree. A menorah passed down through the generations is a special Chanukah symbol. Diwali lamps brought from India by elders help connect U.S.-born children with their heritage. And during Eid ul-Fitr, senior loved ones are honored during the feasting that marks the end of Ramadan.

No matter how far we have moved from home, most Americans want to spend the special winter holidays with loved ones. Busy airports overflow with travelers, and there is that special moment when we ring the doorbell to our childhood home and are greeted by the smell of baking cookies and hugs from parents and grandparents.

But for many families this year, holiday visits will include the realization that their senior loved one’s condition is changing. The house isn’t as spotless as Mom has always kept it. Maybe Dad—always so conscious of his personal grooming—looks as if he hasn’t shaved in a few days. Or perhaps the holiday dinner is several hours late because Grandma forgot to turn on the oven.

Read more at the Right at Home website.