Adjusting to Aging

March 24th, 2012 at 6:15 pm by under Eric Halvorson's Blog

Family albums take us back in time.  For Baby Boomers that’s back to the days of black-and-white photographs.  Back to the days when the future seemed limitless.

Well, Boomers are beginning to see the limits.  They’re approaching retirement age.  And, maybe they have traded places with their parents.  More and more of the “children” — now grown — are taking care of Mom and Dad.

In a 1999 book, Gray Dawn, Peter G. Peterson described aging “as a massive iceberg.”  He said it threatens “to bankrupt even the greatest powers, the United States included, unless they take action in time.”  It’s a demographic transition that can’t be avoided.

This past January, a presentation by the Congressional Budget Office called aging “the fundamental fiscal challenge for this decade and beyond … The number of people in this country age 65 or older will increase by one-third in the coming decade — substantially raising the cost of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

But, as important as that is as a national — even international — issue, the planning needs to be addressed on a personal level, too.  That’s why I’m writing this today.  My family is watching my dad fade.  Now, we’re thinking of all the things we should have done to prepare for this inevitability.

We’ve started doing research about retirement communities.  But my Mom says she’s not old enough for one of those yet.  So we’re studying alternatives.

We’re being forced to consider some legal and financial matters we probably should have anticipated.

I’ve been told we’re not doing badly.   Dad’s condition isn’t desperate.   But my sisters and I know we need to do something.  If not for him, then for our Mom.  Being the caregiver is draining, physically and emotionally.

What we’re learning provided the inspiration for a new radio show I will do, periodically, for My107.9, for WZPL, and WNTS.  In the first episode, I talked to people who live and work in this world every day — Dr. Ellen Miller of the Center for Aging and Community at the University of Indianapolis, Tina McIntosh, the founder and CEO of Joy’s House, and Tammy Stevens, an attorney with a special interest in Elder Law.

The program airs on Sunday morning at 7am on WZPL and My1079.  Later in the morning on WNTS.  I hope it offers some help to the many of us facing some very important decisions.

One Response to “Adjusting to Aging”

  1. Jim says:

    Eric, I’m sorry you face this with your dad, and I’m sorry that your dad faces this. I’m glad you’re able to shine some light on the broader issue of elder care.