All of us remember being 5 years old, or 9 or 13. But few of us remember being 85 years old. At best, we’re baffled by these older years. Often, this unfamiliar territory terrifies us. We know we’ll need support and aging life management, but what kind? And more importantly, how do you know who to trust?
That’s why I created Later Life Living.
When my father was 85, he was traveling, lunching with the ROMEO’s – Retired Old Men Eating Out – and getting into his usual mischief. My mother had passed away when she was just 58. He never remarried because she’d been the love of his life, and that was that. Dad made it to 90, leaving this earth from the home we’d moved into 47 years before.
When he ultimately began to weaken, I became what my staff and I call the “D.A.” in the family. In this case, “D.A.” stands for “Designated Adult.” I was the one who flew back and forth to Buffalo to help take care of Dad. He always insisted he reimburse me for my airfare, because he could be obstinate as well as generous. I was, and am, grateful to have had that time to spend with him.
When Catastrophe Strikes
A family acquaintance had become my parents’ housekeeper while Mom was still alive, and she stepped into the role of Dad’s caregiver. While my siblings and I were grateful in the beginning, I realized during my visits that she was ill-suited for the job. The food she made for him wasn’t healthy for him. Over time, I regularly found a good deal of that food rotting in the refrigerator.
Then, late one night, Dad fell in the bathroom when I wasn’t there. He’d refused to wear a medical alert system, though we’d used every persuasive trick we could think of. He wound up lying on the bathroom floor and struggled for hours, alone, to drag himself back into bed. His so-called caregiver arrived the following morning and simply fixed him breakfast. My father was shaken, bewildered, and covered in bruises from his struggle the night before. Clearly, he needed to go to the hospital – at least to Dad’s friend who brought food at dinnertime and insisted they take him there.
We were lucky. As it turns out, he’d had a small stroke, and he managed to recover completely. The only after-effect was an occasional memory that would elude him.
I was lucky. Because his estate was in the hands of the law firm he’d worked with for decades. They were able to recommend experienced caregivers who kept Dad safe and comfortable to the end.
I was so lucky. Dad had frequent visits from long-time friends and neighbors. He never developed dementia, though his sister had. He also didn’t break a hip, and he became bedridden only for a month or so before he died.
And yet it was all so difficult.
Finding Aging Life Management Experts
I lived on the west coast. Dad lived across the continent in Buffalo. When bad things happened (see above), it took me days to get there – if I was able to go at all.
I wished there were someone I could turn to. Someone I could just call to find out, in terms I could understand, what state Dad was in. Someone who understood aging life management, and could see to his complete well-being as well as keep track of all his medications and .
Now that I’ve worked with older adults and their families for 8 years, I know there are Geriatric Care Managers and Aging Life Specialists who do just that. Not only do I know they exist, but I also know who has the qualifications, knowledge and experience for the job. These professionals would have made sure there wasn’t any rotting food in the fridge.
A Daily Money Manager could have helped him with paying his bills and overseeing his finances. If he’d accidentally written a $75,000 check to a “”Q.F.M.” – Questionable Family Member – they probably would have cashed it. I simply reminded him my airfare was much less than that and then shredded the $75,000 check he’d written to me.
I knew if I was having problems knowing who to hire during Dad’s final years, others faced the same doubts and ambiguities as I was.
Welcome to Later Life Living.
Whether you’re an older adult looking for trusted, reliable services to support you, or an adult child sorting options for a parent, you need a place that removes all the uncertainty of hiring by providing you with a list of licensed, experienced professionals to meet your expectations.
Our mission is to deliver safety and certainty to older adults and their families seeking a broad range of services. From care managers to estate planning attorneys and everything in between, we take the guesswork out of finding the right fit for your needs.
Every one of our listed professionals is vetted for licensing, training, experience, and more. Our community helps you find the perfect provider to determine if a reverse mortgage is right for you, or certified move managers and realtors who understand the nuances of moving from a home you’ve lived in for 47 years.
I hope you feel supported by our mighty aging life management community of professionals you can trust. It’s created just for you, and those you love.