February 9, 2023
The concept of getting support from others often comes with a negative connotation. But it's easy to forget we are all interdependent. We all need support. Accepting assistance as we age presents challenges for both the aging person and their support system. The first step is to reframe why we give and receive help; then to create a strategic care strategy.
Rather than continue to reinforce society’s description of older adults as declining in ability and value because of changing levels of independence, I prefer to insist that many older adults simply need support, just like any other human. We need support as we raise our families, grow our careers, and deal with day to day activities. It isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength because we are stronger together.
It turns out that people, regardless of their age, need assistance. It’s time to shift the mindset from a deteriorating and declining view (credit Dr. Bill Thomas) to one of support and reverence for an aging population. We should strive to lift up those who came before us and support them in their advanced years just as they supported us while we worked to achieve our own self-reliance and independence. By shifting our mindset towards giving and receiving at every age, accepting assistance as we age becomes easier.
With approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day, we need to step up and do what we can to support our communities in need. Nearly 1 in 7 adults in the U.S., about 52.4 million people, are over the age of 65; and of these, only about 1 million live in nursing homes. That’s less than 2.5%. The current unemployment rate is less than that!
This means that everyone else lives at home in their communities, or lives at home with a loved one. So, what can we do to help support people living in their homes who will need caregiving assistance as they age?
Currently, 47% of Americans ages 40 to 50, take care of both their children and their aging parents. What’s more, is that 19% of caregivers burnout. Many struggle with managing strained relationships with their spouse and children, and balancing their own personal needs. So again, what can we do lend support?
Researchers from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago decided to go straight to the source to find out exactly that: what do older adults need to feel supported in their homes? Specifically, these researchers organized focus groups of 68 older adults (average age = 74) living in their communities and asked them two important questions:
Four themes emerged from this research:
Strategies to overcome the reluctance to ask for help in the home also emerged from this research:
As a society, we should recognize that everyone, regardless of age, needs a helping hand sometimes and that all people can benefit in some way by depending on another. Whether you are an older adult who is contemplating asking for help in your home, or are a family member of an older adult who needs some help in their home, Yϋmi would like to support you.
At Yϋmi, we specialize in connecting people who need help with people who can provide help. We have created an app-based platform to pre-screen and perform background checks on all caregivers who aspire to be Yϋmi Caregivers. Every Yϋmi Caregiver creates a profile in our app, which you can use to determine who you would like to connect with to ask for help. Yϋmi Caregivers are available on short notice and can commit to any schedule you prefer. We make accepting assistance as we age, or as our loved one’s age, easy.