Getting to Know the Elderbloggers List
Dr. William H. Thomas – Part 1

A Peek at Boomer and Elder Attitudes

[EDITORIAL NOTE: If you missed yesterday’s post or put off participating, it would be terrific if you added a “review” of an elderblogger. And if you have been taking part in the Where Elders Blog feature only as a voyeur, we are waiting to see where you blog too.]

A new survey commissioned by Clarity, which makes products to help those with hearing loss, contains some interesting data about “Attitudes of Seniors and Baby Boomers on Aging in Place.” It’s a wide-ranging survey with, to me, some surprising results.

For all the media hysteria about the burdens of the “sandwich generation” – mostly boomers who care for both aging parents and growing children - there doesn't appar to be much to warrant the media's attention. Eighty percent are only somewhat or not concerned about their parents moving in with them, and 76 percent are only somewhat or not concerned about financially supporting aging parents.

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Jewish sons’ eternal frustration with mothers who phone too often notwithstanding, both adult children and aging parents mostly think the amount of involvement with one another is just about right.

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Since this is a survey on aging in place, both groups – boomers and seniors - were asked about monitoring parents’ health by placing cameras in their homes. Personally, I find this abhorrent and wonder that if cameras are necessary, whether the person should be living alone, and I wasn't surprised at the level of rejection of it by both age groups.

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As all past surveys have shown, old people overwhelming want to stay in their homes as they age. There is much that communities, federal and local governments, non-profits, adult children and elders themselves can do to help make this possible, but it’s not getting done yet at the rate that is needed.

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Seniors, defined as age 65 and older, have a way to go to catch up with the number of other age groups in use of computer technology. About half are not comfortable with or do not use a computer, email or the internet. But other surveys show they are the fastest-growing age group online.

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What also did not surprise me in the survey is what seniors fear most. Losing independence came in first and fear of one’s own death tied for last place.

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There are a lot of other interesting statistics in the “Attitudes of Seniors and Baby Boomers on Aging in Place” survey and it’s easy to read. Don’t be put off by the 157 pages; they are mostly graphs like the ones above and you can download the PDF file at the Clarity Products website. [Scroll down to "Aging in Place" section]

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Leah Aronoff is having a Flash Back to a fearful walk home from school every day when she was a kid.]


Comments

This is excellent! How nice that there is someone out there who asks pertinent, useful questions! I hope you have forwarded this to the people you've cited of late who consider elders a bunch of doddering old fools.

Thanks for the info, Ronni. Interesting, I guess. But then like I usually say (when reading polls), denial is the best coping strategy especially when you're my age! Dee


I'm happy that someone cares what I think. I am 79 years old so there is no way I will ever be in the "sandwich" generation now, but I WAS. I took care of my kids as teenagers and also took care of my parents.

It wasn't so hard because my parents were both in excellent health until the bitter end and they were finacially secure, thanks to good pensions from hard work. But, I must say, the best thing that ever happened to take the worry about finances away was MEDICARE!!!!! Hurray for the Democrats we elected to do just that in 1960.. Pass the Medicare bill in spite of the opposition from the Medical Profession who now make a fantastic living because of medicare.

As far as the polls you cited are concerned, my opinions were with the majority every time.



I’ve been to a couple of events here in Northern California regarding Universal Design, a way of designing homes and apartments for aging in place. There are a limited number of housing projects in the area (San Francisco, Berkeley, the North Bay) that have been so designed for total family occupancy.

Regardless of the obvious, that more and more people will be needing this kind of housing, its like pulling teeth to get more contractors and developers to see the financial, let alone the socio-cultural, advantages of building with aging in mind. Status quo holds out for profit and has a way of insisting itself to be what the consumer wants; however, the more people demand the practicality of universal design, the more likely it will be to become the norm (which will ultimately be necessary). And, the truth is that it costs little more than the old standard during the initial construction phase.

A non-profit here, of which I am a board member, has a special program for remodeling and equipping homes to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities, including the elderly, so they can stay in their current places of residence.

Information about universal design can be found on many websites, such as:
http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/

Was aware of this study and am glad to see the link and info you provide. I've interacted with my own mother, other elders on both a personal level and professionally with elders for about twenty-some years. Independence is and has been, without doubt, the most important issue for most of them and always has been for me.

I strongly desire to remain in my home, as I tried to help my mother remain in hers, even a couple of years after she had a stroke. Attitudes of many, and support systems for such an idea then were poor, as I found out the hard way.
I want to see this option available for not just the affluent, which we weren't.

As for getting this fastest growing group of elders, actually my age group, into computer use, I keep promoting it every chance I can, in any way I can, also hoping to attract them to joining this Elderblogger community.

BTW I think your previous post idea of elderbloggers reviewing elderblogs they've not previously visited is a good one.

I was particularly struck by the answers to the question on fear, which confirm my own views on this point. Only 3 percent named their own death as their greatest fear, while most responders cited loss of independence or, apparently, hadn't given much thought to their greatest fear.

Somehow the results don't fit the answers from my friends caring for their aging parents. My parents and my friends parents were all burdens whether they stayed in their own homes or ended up in nursing homes. Their drives to remain independant put them in danger at every corner. Worst of all, if they were abusive parents there was lowered contact with their adult kids which also put them in danger every day with no one to monitor them. Many continued to drive deep into dementia or alcoholism.

It’s wonderful to read such a detailed survey! I feel that independence is the first thing we all start to worry when it is right around the corner for all of us. At some point or another there will be times when we will all face this. My greatest fear is this loss for my parents. I have searched for a better solution than to admit them into a nursing facility where they would have no independence, nor privacy. ResponseLINK was my only option to help them keep their independence and continue to live in the privacy of their own home. It is such a simple device to use and has reduced the emotional worry since it provides 24 hour monitoring at the fraction of the cost of skilled or assisted living services.

Hey this is a wonderful idea!! I will check it out for my own family.. Glad you posted , thank you!

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