Choosing the right care in old age

by Jasmin Robert 
The aged have navigated the cycles of life and now find themselves at the advanced stages of life, living, and death. Consider that they were once young; full of energy and youthful vigor. They had ( may still have) dreams, pursued them and applied themselves in their time.

Now that they are old, they have seen battles which they won and lost. Some may have saved up for retirement while some may not. A common denominator for the aged is the fact that they require more attention and affection. Especially from loved ones such as their children.

The stake is higher when the aged parent is frail and in need appropriate medical attention. Complications also arise because you are fully employed and might have dependents of your own in addition to grappling with an aged care system that is undergoing challenges such as in Australia.

What can you possibly do under the circumstances? The following courses of action can serve as guides:

Adopt a gentle approach to handling the aged
Understand that your parents have made the transition to becoming children again. So you will need to cultivate loads of patience in relating to them as well as noting the unique circumstances they face as they cope with the demands of being old.
Begin your search with an aged care assessment
Even if the situation is urgent, it is best to try to maintain a clear head, as much as possible. Before deciding to engage a care home or facility, experts recommend having a consultation with an Aged care assessment team. The thrust of this meeting, which should naturally involve the elderly person(s) in question, is to see if they can still care for themselves or be cared for at home.

Also, the team will also help in determining if the senior citizen needs transition care- especially if such an individual only just left the hospital and needed time and space within familiar surroundings to recover.

Consider the home first
Bear in mind that that this option does not suggest the child or relative has to be directly involved in the day-to-day care for the aged parent. In Australia, government-care packages defray a portion of the costs in the home, depending on the kind of care needed and the capacity of the family to pay.

This option can be explored although it is worth mentioning that there exists huge demand assistance of this nature for the aged.

Factor in the costs
This is arguably the most crucial part of the whole process. Costs implications cover aspects such as how much the caregiver can afford to pay, designating the family home or other property as an asset, determining what individual aged care facilities charge upfront and over the course of a residential contract. Other costs components range from accommodation fees for the care facility, meal, and laundry expenses as well as utility billing.

Under these circumstances, it is always proper to ask questions and to receive a comprehensive breakdown of all financial obligations, to enable proper and adequate planning.

A member of the group, who is also a retired medical practitioner, Michael Page, speaks highly of the exercise. Together with his friend, Mrs. Parker and others, he never missed a day in the warm and inviting waters of the ocean.

He opines that while the activity is a time for great fun and unwinding, there are health benefits too. He states:’ It's great exercise, walking out against the waves…”

It seems boogie-boarding also increases the retiree’s feel-good coefficient as well: “but I'm just happy in waist-deep water and getting long waves, looking along the wave and seeing everyone smiling," he said

Mrs. Parker agrees with the latter postulation, describing the magical medical benefits in the following words: "Sometimes as you're getting in the water, you can see a whole group of people all smiling,"
The group keeps the excitement alive and well, by sending improvised text messages to members. One such text message might read thus: 'Doctor's Appointment at the beach at 9 o'clock.'

And what long stretches for doctors' appointments it turns out to be, as the surfing season stretches from October to May each year. 

The oldest member of the group, Max Harrop, still boogie-boards at 87 years of age. For him, learning in retirement was easy because of the supportive spirit in the group.

This sense of shared fun manifests in the way Silver Surfers (or the Granny Grommets) take on the waves. Unlike younger, stand-up surfers who like to take ownership of the wave, these retirees prefer a 'party wave,' whereas many boogie boarders as possible jump on the same wave and surf in unison.

So the next time you think about keeping yourself busy in retirement, look no further than becoming a member of the Silver Surfers!

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