THE SANDWICH GENERATION
AGE OF ALEXANDRIA RESIDENTS 55+ 60+ 65+
information for families to help them learn about senior care options. “It’s so impactful when you come home and see the house isn’t tidy, your parents aren’t tidy and nothing is in the refrigerator,” said Maribeth Bersani, COO of Argentum, an Alexandria-based trade association serving companies that own, operate, and support professionally-managed senior living communities.
How to Help Your Elderly Parent
One way to avoid the shock of coming home and finding your parents struggling is to ask them certain questions each time you speak with them on the phone. Bersani recommends asking: What did you do today? Did you see your friends? Did you go to book club? What have you read lately? What did you eat for lunch?
BY LISA RABASCA ROEPE
Lauren Finney was living in Japan teaching English when her father become seriously ill. At the urging of her mother and brother, she came home. It had been a year since she had seen her dad and she knew his health had been declining. “As soon as I saw him, I realized that something was wrong,” said Finney, 37, who lives in Alexandria. She was heartbroken.
Finney’s experience of not seeing her parent for a long time and suddenly realizing there is a problem isn’t unusual. As the holidays approach, many adult children will visit their parents for the first time in months. Unfortunately, when they arrive, some will be surprised by what they find.
Unanticipated changes in behavior can signal a problem, said Terri Lynch, director of the City of Alexandria’s Division of Aging and Adult Services. For instance, if your parent is typically gregarious but is suddenly withdrawn, or if your parent has always been a neat person but suddenly their appearance and home are messy, those are signs they might need help.
“Holiday time, when adult children come home, is when our phones start ringing,” said Robin Edwards, a certified senior advisor and senior care consultant for CarePatrol, a senior placement organization that provides no-cost
Don’t despair. There are plenty of resources available to help you and your elderly parents navigate this transition, whether they want to age at home or move into a senior living community or nursing home, Lynch said.
alexandrialivingmagazine.com • November / December 2018