Reaching for the hemlock in order not to be a burden…. this seems a little farther than most of us want to go. But the idea is crossing more than a few aging minds, reports CNN intern Sachin Seth on a recent blog.
Rather than burden their children with the daunting task of caring for them as they age, some baby boomers may be considering an extreme form of “relief.” Suicide.
Psychiatrist Mark Goulston says he’s been approached by some middle-aged patients who say they’d rather “take a bottle of pills” than inconvenience their children.
Dr. Goulston blames the problem on the impatient nature of “millennials” – the offspring of baby boomers – a trait he says was passed down from the boomers themselves.
Adding to their angst is their own experience of taking care of elderly parents, which sometimes leads to feelings of resentment. Baby boomers don’t want their own children to grow to resent and begrudge them when they get old and feeble.
There’s a video exchange between Goulston and CNN’s Don Lemon that’s worth watching, but won’t lift your spirits much.
Add to this don’t-be-a-burden dilemma — and it IS a dilemma that crosses the mind of everyone over 60 and most folks who have a parent over 60 — the bizarre situation of estate taxes right now and the whole business of dying gets seriously complicated. It was okay last year, when you knew estate taxes were magically going to disappear on January 1, 2010, so the focus was on staying alive until then.
Baby boomers well into their final careers are increasingly discovering a new one: caregiver to elderly parents. And if current studies are to be believed, boomers themselves are more than likely to need long-term care. A new report out of Canada suggests that “baby boomers will have to develop non-traditional caregiver networks, or pay for long-term care facility care” in our neighbor to the north.
Today, up to 70% of the care provided to the elderly comes from an informal network of spouses, children and close family. But the baby-boom generation is unlike previous generations in that they have relatively few children, and stable couples are a rarity, according to researchers at the Université de Montréal. Baby boomers “risk finding themselves in difficult circumstances and might have to turn to the public system or pay their way,” says professor Jacques Légaré, who authored the study of aging boomers.
Friends, siblings or cousins could make up a new, non-traditional model of caregiving for seniors who can’t afford assisted living or skilled nursing care, Légaré suggests. The paper was presented this week at the 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Concordia University in Montreal.
In the U.S., most surveys put the figure of “informal caregivers” — family members or friends — closer to 80%, and estimates of the number of boomers likely to need long-term care themselves go up with virtually every new study.
Choices in long-term care also are going up, though. The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information is a government-run (Department of Health and Human Services) site that offers information and resources for long-term care planning — along with some eye-opening information about costs and coverage.
Baby boomers can take heart in the fact that innovative models are being developed in many states, and possibilities are being pursued in both public and private sectors. Non-traditional networks may be the new best thing for this looming fact of boomer futures.
Baby boomers may need to find new, innovative care networks, report finds – McKnight’s Long Term Care News.
This is a bad way to start a geezer’s day:
Deakin University researchers questioned 113 people about their views on the over-65s for a report commissioned by the Victorian aged care organisation Benetas. The university’s Associate Professor David Mellor says young people and baby boomers perceived older people as unproductive.
“While older people are seen as friendly and pleasant, ultimately, they’re seen to be unproductive,” he said. “Now, that ties in with baby boomers talking about older people as having no ambition, or as being fragile and being a burden on society.”
OK, “friendly and pleasant,” I’m good with that. But fragile. Come on, professor, I’m still doing my par course workouts.
Professor Mellor says the research revealed a number of reasons why older people are not treated with respect. “Things like the smaller family size, broken families, the pressure of time that affects people who are working, and the rise of technology,” he said. “All of those kind of factors were seen to be barriers to younger people giving respect or expressing respect to older people.”
However. That ‘ABC’ refers to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, not the American. And can any study commissioned by a Victorian aged care organisation be fully trusted? Let’s have a little respect here, please.
Elderly seen as ‘burden on society’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).