Forget the sandwich generation. mom and Dad say they don't want help. A recent national survey of Canadians aged 73 or older who live alone or with a partner, reveals today's older seniors are highly capable and independent and the majority are not planning to turn to their children for help as they age.
According to the Lifeline Report on Aging, a survey of 1,004 Canadians in their 70s and 80s, the vast majority say they want to continue to live independently, and although they recognize they will need help as they grow older, only 17 per cent are planning to ask their children for help. Some even dread this idea. After "failing health" and "losing the ability to live independently," respondents' said their third biggest fear of aging is becoming a burden to their children.
"Our survey reveals adult children today have to tread a delicate path, particularly if their parents say they want to remain independent and don't need help," says Erik Sande, general manager of Philips Lifeline. "However, whether adult children are actively involved in their parents' daily lives, or only check in every few weeks, we strongly recommend they make some safety adjustments in their home. Taking a fall for instance, could bring an abrupt end to their cherished independence."
In addition to subscribing to a medical alert service, such as Lifeline, other important safety adjustments for older seniors include: eliminating throw rugs and clutter; ensuring all areas of the home are well lit; and installing handrails on the stairs and grab bars in the bathroom.
More information on how to make elderly family members safer in their own home is available online at www.lifeline.ca