The Unexpected Costs of Caring for an Aging Parent

According to data collected by the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are over 66 million family caregivers in the United States. That translates to nearly 40 percent of the U.S. adult population…a stunning statistic. This number includes people who are caring for the sick or disabled, but the majority of these caregivers are assisting an elderly family member.

Other than a spouse, the most common people to be tasked with caring for an elderly loved one are adult children. In fact, a study conducted by MetLife showed that 10 million adult children over age 50 were acting as a caregiver for their aging parent(s), a number that equals approximately a quarter of all Baby Boomers. Click the link above to learn more about the realities of caregiving for an aging parent and the unexpected costs that come with it.


Tip #19 of 50 – What About the Dog?

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip # 19 of 50 –  What about my pet?

If you are a senior living on your own, or if you are the adult child of a senior living on their own, and moving to a retirement community is under consideration one very important question may be: but what about the dog? Or, what about the cat? Oftentimes, this beloved pet has been part of the family for many years, and seems like a real obstacle when it comes to making a move.

The good news is this: many retirement communities not only allow pets, they encourage them! Click the link above to learn more about why a pet needn’t be an obstacle when considering a retirement community.


Boomers Can Achieve Better Health with Super Foods

Super foods. The name alone evokes images of capped heroes, swooping in to save the day. But are these foods really worthy of such superlative nomenclature? And are the health benefits to seniors all they are cracked up to be? For some of these foods, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” But for others, recent studies have given mixed reviews.

What makes a food “super”?

The trademark of most of the super foods is that they are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, “good” fats, and/or lean protein. On top of that, many are loaded with antioxidants. Diets rich in antioxidants are frequently associated with the prevention of cancer, inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular disease–all issues of concern as we age. Click the link above to learn more about the types of super foods that can help boomers achieve better health.


Traveling With Your Aging Parents

With so many of us living with and caring for our parents, we are constantly searching for ways to incorporate that care into our daily lives…and our vacations.

Remember back when our travel plans required that we consider feedings, strollers, diaper changing, and playgrounds? Now, we are considering walkers, oxygen tanks, hydration, and benches for resting. It can be challenging to assure you have covered all your bases and to assure everyone will have a smooth, enjoying, and relaxing vacation.

Here are some tips:

  1. Click with your parents’ primary care provider to assure everyone is healthy enough to travel.
  2. Take copies of prescriptions, extra pairs of sunglasses, and sun protective clothing.
  3. Contact transportation providers ahead of time to assure appropriate accommodations are available.
  4. Choose vacation locations near medical facilities or equipment rental locations as needed.
  5. Plan for frequent breaks.
  6. Carry adequate water and snacks.
  7. Carry copies of insurance cards, and know what providers in the area accept your parents’ insurance.
  8. Place medications, creams, etc. in carry-on bags.
  9. Ask your provider for a description of your parents’ medical situation and a brief medical history.
  10. Leave your itinerary with a trusted family member or friend.

For more tips, visit safeaging.com. Bon voyage!

This above article was written and published by Barbara McVicker of www.barbaramcvicker.com


4 Tips for Talking to Parents About Assisted Living

As your parents age, there may come a time when they are not able to live as independently as before, whether because of a chronic illness, injury, or decline in general health. As an adult-child of an aging parent, it may fall upon you to begin the conversation about a move to a retirement community or even assisted living, depending on the degree of need. Having this conversation can be challenging and emotional, especially because the majority of aging Americans are more attracted to the idea of “aging in place” in their current home.

Here are four tips that will help you approach this fragile subject with empathy and openness that will put you and your loved one on the same page about this transition. To learn more, click the link above.


Caregiving Is A Marathon

Too often we underestimate the time obligation of caregiving. Adult children step up to be the primary hands-on caregiver having no idea that they may spend as much time caring for their parents as they spent raising their children.

We tend to think that we can burn the candle at both ends – that we can do it all. We think we can manage kids, career, spouse, house, and parents. If caregiving were a sprint, we could probably do it all. Unfortunately, it’s not. Caregiving is a marathon that you could easily spend 15 years focused on the health and well-being of your parents. Click the link above to learn more.


Tip #18 of 50 – Where Do I Even Begin?

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip #18 of 50 –  Where do I even begin?

If you are a senior living in your home or condo (or an adult child trying to help your parent or relative in this situation), you may know that living alone, for a variety of reasons, is not working. There may be a variety of obstacles in your world that make living at home either uncomfortable or perhaps impossible.   Eyesight or hearing loss is oftentimes a big contributor, along with failing physical strength. Laundry room in the basement, anyone? Driving at night sometimes becomes problematic, and eventually, driving at all is problematic.

So, where to begin? First, take heart. There are many options available to you, and they’re not nearly as overwhelming as you might imagine. To learn more about the options available to you when living at home alone is no longer working, click the link above.


Caregiver Assistance: Addressing Caregiver Stress

Caring for an aging family member is a labor of love. But study after study also shows the emotional, physical, and even financial stress that the caregiver incurs as a result.

Research conducted by MetLife revealed that approximately 10 million adult children over the age of 50 (that’s roughly a quarter of all Baby Boomers!) have taken on the role of caregiver for their aging parents, helping with a variety of tasks–everything from running errands and cooking to bathing and using the toilet. It’s a lot to take on, especially for caregivers who may also be juggling a career and their own children, which is likely why caregivers over age 50 who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to have fair or poor health as compared to peers who do not provide elder care.

A few other noteworthy stats from the study:

  • Adult daughters are more likely to provide help with daily care, and sons are more likely to provide monetary assistance.
  • The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these adult-child caregivers is nearly $3 trillion.
    • For women, the total individual amount of lost income (wages, Social Security benefits, pension) due to leaving the labor force early and/or reducing hours of work because of caregiving responsibilities averages $324,044. For men, it averages $283,716.*

Yet despite all of these physical and financial drawbacks, the adult-child-as-caregiver trend continues to grow rapidly in the United States. The MetLife study showed that the number of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to an aging parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years.

Caring for the caregiver

It seems that caring for an aging parent is here to stay. So what can caregivers do to help alleviate some of the stress associated with the gig? Click the link above to learn more. 


Tip #17 of 50 – Why Not Just Move Into A Hotel For Your Retirement?

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip #17 of 50 –  Why not just move into a hotel for your retirement?

You may have seen the cartoons and ads and articles that suggest (some in all seriousness) that the price of retirement home living is high so, “Why not just move into a hotel?” The article then usually goes on about the price per day, and usually concludes (inaccurately) that hotel living is the better deal financially. Click the link above to learn more about why retirement communities are far superior to hotels.


An Interview with Janet Herring : A Wesley Ridge Resident With A Truly Special Past

Recently, The Wesley Ridge Retirement Community book club read the historical fiction novel, The Atomic City Girls. The group was lucky to have the author, Janet Beard, visit to discuss the book and meet with the residents who read it.

The novel chronicles the making of the atomic bomb in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where hundreds of young women were hired to work on special tasks, which were never truly explained. The workers at Oak Ridge were instructed that they were helping to win the war, but were told to ask no questions and to reveal nothing to outsiders.

While all of our Wesley Ridge book club members were excited to meet with the author, one resident in particular, Janet Herring, had an even greater enthusiasm, because she was one of the young women who worked at Oak Ridge in 1945.

Janet was gracious enough to sit down with us to talk about her time at Oak Ridge and the impact it has had on her — not just during her time there, but also now, later in life.

When Janet was in between her freshman and sophomore years of college at Maryville College in Tennessee, she was looking for a local job where she could make some money rather than going home for the summer. While searching in the areas around her, she and a fellow student she knew, Marie, learned about work opportunities available in Knoxville. At the time, however, Janet and Marie did not know they would be going to Oak Ridge. To apply for the work in Knoxville, both Janet and Marie had to take a test assessing their qualifications – and each of them passed with flying colors. From there, they were given minimal information, mostly just about when and where to arrive for work.

Once Janet and Marie arrived in Knoxville, they were taken to Oak Ridge, but it took three days before they were given information pertaining to their jobs or provided with any training. The day did come, however, and they were directed to the bus they would take every morning and then they were guided to the building they would be working in. From there, they were introduced to four soldiers, who looked to be in their mid-to late twenties. The soldiers trained them on their job. At the time, neither realized the importance of their work.

Janet and Marie were assigned to the chemical department, which Janet found interesting as she knew very little about chemistry and was actually studying music. They were tasked with working on a set of glass tubing through which a chemical would be processed. Janet explained that while being trained, they were told that at the end of their shifts, they would end up with a chemical mixture in the glass tubing, which the next shift of employees would use. During training, one of the soldiers very seriously said to them both, “I cannot tell you what the chemical in the tubing is, but what I can tell you is that if you ever spill or drop one of these tubes, run out of the room as fast as you can.” Janet and Marie later found out that the chemical in the tubing was Uranium 235, a main component in the making of the atomic bomb.

When asked how she felt about keeping her work at Oak Ridge a secret, Janet explained that while she couldn’t remember the exact words, something was said to her by a higher up employee that was so frightening, she never even imagined sharing with anyone where she was working.

Janet did mention that one night, two days after she had been at Oak Ridge, her mother called her very worried demanding to know where she was working. Her mother expressed that the FBI had shown up at their house wanting to confirm that Janet was indeed her daughter and lived at that residence. Janet knew she couldn’t tell anyone, not even her mother, until after her time there when the bomb was dropped and the world knew. Janet said she never really questioned her work or why she couldn’t tell anyone either. Remember, that she was too afraid to tell anyone, but she also said she was young and simply just looking for a summer job that paid her. That was all, and she didn’t question it.

Janet talked about how her time working at Oak Ridge was one that she did enjoy. The soldiers that trained her became friends and they often they joked with each other and had fun.

Later in life, Janet said she didn’t realize just how unique and impactful her time at Oak Ridge was. She never really shared her story with others until she began reading about Oak Ridge and meeting people who expressed interest in her story and WWII. A Wesley Ridge resident for 13 years, Janet has since held a few speaking engagements at our community and has been featured in the resident newsletter as well as some local newspapers.

Janet expressed that she was so happy with how well the author of The Atomic City Girls, Janet Beard, depicted the story. There were often times while Janet was reading that she would pause for a moment and remember all of the details of her time there, the words on the pages taking her right back to Oak Ridge. For her 91st birthday, Janet’s daughter surprised her and took her to the museum at Oak Ridge. She had a wonderful time and even though she wasn’t able to go into the building she worked in, Janet said it felt just like it did when she was 18.

With a truly special and interesting past, we are lucky to have Janet Herring as part of The Wesley Communities.


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Testimonials & Review

My Husband and I had a great expierence when taking our tour with Fanny. She was a pure delight and she made us feel very confortable with her and the facility. She was very informative and answered all of our questions for us. I really enjoyed speaking with her and enjoyed her great personality during our tour.

- Nancy Gallop