Are You Lost In The Chaos of Caring For Mom Or Dad? Look No Further, AARP’s Resource Guide Is Just One Click Away.
Hindsight really is our best teacher. I only wish I had known then what I know now about caring for an elderly parent. I did a great job, but I ran myself ragged because I did not have any outside resources to inform or relieve me. I am on the tail end of the Baby Boom generation (born 1946-1964) so I have not yet had reason enough to peruse AARP’s website for myself. Therefore, I just didn’t know what they had to offer and how instrumental they could have been in answering the questions I had, and seeking support from others who were experiencing the same. I felt very much in it alone.
After my mother died, it wasn’t until much later when I started writing about caring for an elderly parent that I came across the new and improved AARP website in all of my research. The first article I read was from the CEO, A. Barry Rand and it was filled with heart as he connected to readers by sharing his personal experience of caring for his father during the last eight years of his life. He says, “It was one of the most difficult…rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life.” I completely felt his pain as he recalled for all of us what a daunting job it is, full of challenges and rewards.
What Mr. Rand took away from his own experience of caring for an elderly parent has served a purpose in benefitting the other 45 million of us grappling with the issue of what to do when Mom or Dad can no longer care for themselves. His first mission was to revamp the AARP website to include resources and information in one spot where caregivers could be connected to experts and organizations easily. AARP launched the Caregiving Resource Center in early 2013. After spending hours upon hours to get a sense of what it offers, I have several places wherein you will find invaluable information.
1) Blogs-I have found many useful questions answered and am starting to know the style of Bloggers and which authors I look forward to following. One of my favorite people no longer appears, but Sally Abrahms is relatable having been there done that, and Amy Goyer who currently cares for both of her parents, blogs about weekly conversations she hosts with a group of professionals about the issue of the week. It is an easy forum to participate in, even just silently if you prefer to read the string of comments instead.
2) Prepare to Care Booklet- This is the godsend I wished I had access to when I was collecting all of the data I needed. I got it done, but I was figuring it out the hard way and reinventing the wheel. AARP has since created forms at the ready that you can print for free and fill out easily with samples to follow. Imagine knowing up front ways to get help paying for prescriptions, or where to plug into coalitions of caregiving in your area.
It will save you tremendous time to download the booklet that covers five easy steps so you can start having the conversation now, while everyone is still healthy. Get prepared with knowing what legal documents are still not in place. We are never guaranteed our number of tomorrows. Our lives are not going to slow down. You will be hit with the surprise that one of your parents has become ill, then what? Avoid regrets. Start your planning today. For more about my own experience, 9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent: A Love Story of a Different Kind will be an essential companion for the adult child coming home to care for your elderly parent until the very end. It is a funny, compassionate, and daunting account slated for release August 2013. Available at www.amazon.com/kindle.
Blog question: Which AARP website resource have you found to be most helpful?