Baby boomers ill-equipped for elder care

June 17, 2011 at 6:38 PM
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MCLEAN, Va., June 17 (UPI) -- Most baby boomers, though likely to handle parents' care, are ill-informed, but new information can help, a U.S. government agency says.

A USA Today survey of 600 adults between the ages of 45 to 65 conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network indicated 49 percent couldn't name a single medication their parents took while 31 percent of respondents didn't know how many medications their parents took.

The survey said 34 percent didn't know if their parents had a safe deposit box or where the key was, and 36 percent did not know where their parents kept their financial information, USA Today said.

There was no mention of margin of error or when the survey was conducted.

Baby boomers caring for aging parents is a shock to the emotional system of the so-called Peter Pan Generation, sometimes leaving them unable to cope with day-to-day practicalities, but the government's Administration on Aging makes available publications and emergency readiness lists that have been updated since Hurricane Katrina.

That emergency illustrated the need for readiness, said Jeff Huber, president of Home Instead Senior Care, a company that provides non-medical care services.

"The majority of caregivers we work with have done no advance planning. It is not important until it's urgent," Huber said. "So much stress and uncertainty down the road can be prevented."

Nurse practitioner Mimi Mahon suggests putting medical information on 3-by-5-inch cards and keeping copies in the car and medicine cabinet. Mahon also says it's wise to encourage aging parents to carry a copy, the newspaper said.

Mahon said caretakers must know what medicines parents can miss and which ones must be taken on schedule such as blood pressure and antidepressant medications.

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