As science, technology and medicine improve so too does life expectancy of the general population. This means that the average life expectancy in the United States has now reached the mid 70s, indicating that those born today can expect to live to be 77 or 78 years old. In the year 2000 there were nearly 100,000 people aged 100 years and older in the world with a quarter of those living in the United States. For those born in 1900, the average life expectancy was 47 years, what a dramatic change in a century! In addition to living longer, aging parents are productive, active, contributing members of society who often continue to have multiple roles in the family, neighborhood and larger community well into their 80s and 90s.
As general life expectancy has increased so too has the life expectancy of many who would previously have succumbed to illness and disease in childhood or as a young adult. Many conditions and diseases that once had a very short life expectancy now too have an extended life expectancy. When once expected to live only into young adulthood those with Down Syndrome now have a life expectancy well into middle life (ages 50 and older). Those who used to die from traumatic brain injuries and systemic infections now survive but may be in a condition that requires them to be supervised or cared for by others, and often times it may be their own aging parents who provide their lifelong care.
Aging parents caring for dependent children face a myriad of questions:
- What happens when an elder can no longer care for their dependent child independently?
- Who will assure continuity of care for the dependent child when an aging parent can no longer do so?
- Who will step in and be available to support and care for the elder when they need assistance?
- Where will their dependent child live after they pass on?
- How can the elder live with or near their dependent child through the end of life?
- How will they assure that assets are preserved to provide for that dependent child’s care?
- Who can they entrust to advocate for themselves and their dependent child?
At Matrix AdvoCare Network our Care Managers have experience working with elders and addressing the needs they have for their own health and care needs to establishing trusting, therapeutic relationships with their dependent children. Our Care Managers are able to advocate for an elder and their child by determining needed services, providing professional referrals for financial assistance and legal needs and by identifying future housing and care options that best fit the individual family’s desires.
If you know of an elder who needs assistance caring for or planning care for their dependent child and themselves please call Matrix AdvoCare Network at 952-525-0505 for a free informational visit.