Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America
with Ariane Conrad
“Living with dignity, feeling comfortable, and having self-determinded, steadfast loving care until the end should be our goals for health care for our elders.” – Ai-Jen Poo
How much longer will I be able to drive? Two fender benders in a month…my son is looking at me with sincere doubt in his eyes. If I can’t drive, how will I be able to survive? The last doctor told me I need to slow down and rest more…my heart is showing the wear and tear of life. Will I have to sell my house and start again? How can I do that? Who will take care of me? Assisted living…..old folks home…..will my son step forth? I am so afraid!
For every one of us that is getting closer and closer to the age of lost independence and the need to rely upon others for survival, this is the book for you! Aging with dignity is a most daunting challenge in the world in which we live. People are living longer than ever before due to improved medical techniques as well as better quality of life adjustments. However, longevity does present a significant dilemma. Who will care for these people when they lose their self-reliance and need assistance? Medicare is limited and continuity of care is not supported. In addition, there are fewer registered nurses available to provide this care; geriatricians are also insufficient in number. The statistics regarding the ratio of geriatricians to patients continues to worsen as time goes by due to the fact that there are more people prevailing in their eighties and above yet, the need for such specialization is imperative.. A misdiagnosis due to a lack of knowledge of specifics regarding the elderly could prove to be fatal. It must be noted that the reason for the shortage in geriatricians is that it is not a profitable profession. Fewer universities are offering courses of study in this area due to that factor. So many concerns…so many people at risk.
This brief expose deals with these concerns on many levels. AI-Jen Poo is quite explicit as she shares numerous examples as to how impossible it is for family members to be the only caregivers because there are far too many variables that may have to be considered when dealing with this life crisis. Jen Poo clearly spells out how it ‘takes a village’ to care for the elderly and incorporation of social changes that revolve around cultural, behavioral and structural standards are critical factors in developing a care-support system. Her strategies are brilliant and compel us to respond in kind. She states, emphatically, that all communities that are impacted by the elder boom must be engaged in the formation of the Caring Majority. We are a country of people who care and we must put forth every effort to achieve solutions that will work for all.
This book brings the inevitability of the challenges of life up front and center. If we are fortunate enough to live a long life, then we must face certain realizations: loss of independence; illness; death. However, that does not mean that our final years need to look bleak, futile. With humane intervention, we should be able to take this final journey with love and, most of all, with dignity!