UNPREPARED FOR AGING AND CAREGIVING
When I became the primary caregiver for both of my parents in 2005, I did not even realize it was happening. Each time I had a problem I did my research and made the best decision I could at the moment. The great challenge was not the lack of information. It was too much information. How I longed for a central source to give me authoritative, well-researched answers. Answers were out there, but they were scattered all over the place in books, websites, memories, and newspaper articles. I had no idea which advice was good and which was wasting my time. I certainly did not have the time to research everything I needed to know.
CENTRALIZED RESOURCES UNAVAILABLE
There was no class I could attend to pull it all together. I wondered who was going to care for me in my old age since I had no children. I designed and taught my own classes for caregivers and elders in Dallas, TX. (The problem with classroom teaching is that once an age or disability crisis hits, adults do not have the time or peace of mind to attend one class or a semester of classes.) They need answers immediately. And they want and expect them to be free.
My father died in 2008 and of my mother in 2010. Those caregiving years took their toll, but I would not exchange them for anything. The career suffered, my health degenerated, and financial planning for retirement came to a standstill. Fortunately, I also grew a soul, made peace with my parents, and became the person I wanted to be…and, along the way, as I learned to enjoy living in the moment, I met the lovely man who became my husband.
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE
In 2011 while returning to a life without caregiving at its center, I was astonished how little progress had been made in providing centralized, clearly edited, free information that could be accessed by all. 78 million Baby Boomers and their children are going to need free, vetted, self-help resources as we evolve into an aging society. Social media now gives us tools to collect and share our research, frustration, fears, experience, wisdom, pleasures, laughter, and ingenuity. I waited for someone else to provide the vehicle, but it did not happen. If I wanted it, I was going to have to do it myself.
A 21ST CENTURY SHARED RESOURCE
ElderAuthority.com is designed to allow you to serve yourself when a crisis of aging hits. It is a completely FREE, online resource that makes every effort to share state-of-the-art intelligence about aging, health, housing, working, caregiving, quality of life issues, best practices, and challenges. You can go to the site, enter the topic that represents the issue you are facing and find a number of related articles, videos, and pieces of advice.
As time goes by, we look forward to incorporating and sharing the experiences of those who use the site and comment on the posts. Some of the best ideas come from amateur caregivers, not the medical profession. ElderAuthority.com is a community that shares knowledge, verifies information, provides support, looks for better solutions, and hopes to create a better world for those of us who are lucky enough to grow old.
The tag line for this site is, “Making the Most of Maturity, “ and we intend to do just that!
Katherine Askew, Executive Editor