By Colleen Hollestelle
Owner and Founder of AgingEmpowered
This is your Best. Day. Ever. After receiving accolades for a stellar job on a professional project, you spend your evening relishing companionship and delicious food with those who mean the most to you. You head to bed for a restorative night’s sleep thinking, “Life. Is. Good.” However, your restful night of sleep is interrupted by a 3 AM phone call from a nurse at the hospital who is concerned about a revered older adult in your life. Your [[Mom? Dad? Grandparent? Neighbor? Best Friend?]] is disoriented and frightened from a fall. The hospital needs you to come pick them up. You feel like the subtext is they can’t go home, but you don’t have the foggiest idea where to start. How do you find a place for your loved one? What does it cost? How do you find a quality place? Does this person really even need to leave home, now? How do you manage this when you’re supposed to travel to Philadelphia tomorrow? Your smooth sailing seas just encountered a hurricane.
This is a common experience for older adults and their families. According to a 2015 report from The Family Caregiver Alliance, “34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months.” The demands of living life balanced with caregiving can lead to burnout and stress of caregivers. Headaches, malaise, exhaustion, depression, and emotional changes can all result from caregiving, according to the Mayo Clinic. So where is the good news here? It doesn’t have to be this way.
Aging Life Care Professionals are specially trained, educated, and certified professionals who offset caregiver stress and help older adults and their families thrive. Aging and caring for an aging friend or family member are complex, unpredictable trajectories. Being an older adult is now a FORTY-year span of time, from 65-105+! As adults move through the life course, the experience managing chronic diseases, complex family and support systems, psychological changes, and home and environmental challenges complicate aging and caregiving. A qualified Aging Life Care Professional can help with all of this, and more.
But wait, there’s more good news! Rarely does an older adult need to leave home following an emergency. A crisis or hospitalization often reflects an imbalance between the needs of the adult and the supports in the home, but that doesn’t mean you need to LEAVE! Most often, bringing the appropriate resources into the home with the guidance of an effective Aging Life Care Professional enhances health, well-being, and autonomy. This preserves the independence of the older adult as well as the well-being of the caregiver– AND the resources of the older adult that have taken a lifetime to acquire.
Aging Life Care is surprisingly affordable. Rates range from $100-$300 per billable hour nationwide, and many practices will customize a package to meet your needs. Considering a private room at a nursing home is $275/day, a few hours of Care Navigation each month is a bargain–especially considering you increase the likelihood of staying home and receiving person-centered care.
AgingEmpowered’s decision to identify as Care Navigation is an intentional choice. Like seas, the course of life can be smooth, rough, and everything in between. Navigators from AgingEmpowered are to help direct you through the storm back to smooth seas.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. May there be more smooth water than storms in your life travels!