The Craig Fahle Show

Taking Care of Mom and Dad

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Photo courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons

Baby Boomers and younger adults are finding themselves as caregivers to their aging parents. As medical technology keeps us alive longer, families are faced with new challenges in care, housing and chronic illness for elderly loved ones.

"There is a growing need [for caregiving education]," says Pamela Malone, project manager for Detroit Elder Care Conference. Malone says the number of people in a so-called "sandwich generation" is increasing. That's a group of people who are sandwiched between working full time, and also taking on the additional daily responsibilities of caring for an elderly parent or relative.

Family dynamics become increasingly important in the success of caregiving for the elderly, says Patricia Rencher, director of Healthier Black Elders Center at Wayne State University.

"It usually falls upon one person [within a family] to do the job," she says. She says that can create resentment and stress within a family. And, she says, the issues around elder care don't end there. She says there needs to be education for people learning how to transport family members from beds to bathrooms and throughout a house, and how to manage the fixed income finances of older people.

According to Rencher, Alzheimer's Disease also presents an increasing challenge in caregiving. She says 180,000 people in Michigan have Alzheimer's, making it the second-most prevalent need for caregivers. The first is the natural aging process.

The Caregiver Support Conference will be held on Saturday, May 17 at Focus: Hope from 8:30-2. Call 313.867-3112 to register.

-- Laura Weber-Davis