As Bozeman expands and evolves, seniors continue to have a valuable role in our community. Intergenerational relationships enrich our lives in so many ways. Older parents and grandparents help keep family stories and history alive, and they have an abundance of wisdom and experience to share with younger generations. Such opportunities are mutually beneficial to young and old alike.
There is also a strong correlation between personal health and the strength of one’s family relationships. As we age, social networks are likely to change, and family is often the one connection that remains constant. Anticipating the changing needs of seniors will ensure their safety while at the same time preventing caregiver burnout. Most of our loved ones will outlive their ability to drive, manage medications, and even bathe and dress independently. Providing assistance with some of these daily activities can prevent falls and other injuries, and may prolong the ability to live with some independence. Family members are usually the first to step in, but enlisting extra help is essential to everyone's well-being.
Talking to someone experienced in senior health can help you find the right type of care and the best possible caregiver for your specific needs. There are several home care agencies and experienced private duty caregivers in the area. Bozeman also boasts the added benefit of MSU’s College of Nursing and premed programs which offer a pool of young adults with a medical future in mind looking to gain experience as a caregiver.
You can expect some initial resistance to caregiving in the home. This generation of seniors is hardworking and independent, but a few hours of well-planned caregiving for specific needs can be just the key to maintaining the independence that they love. For those who are not safe living alone, the Bozeman area offers a variety of assisted living communities with varying levels of care. The larger facilities provide more activities, outings, and social interaction, while the smaller facilities have a cozier homelike atmosphere.
Adding a “mother-in-law suite” to your home is another way to keep a loved one near while affording both of you some privacy. Skilled care at home is also a great resource. Many people are not aware that home health care is part of their Medicare benefits. Your provider can order physical and occupational therapy as well as skilled nursing care in the home. People who benefit from home health care are those with balance issues, medication changes, an exacerbation of a medical condition, a wound that isn’t healing, or a recent hospitalization.
Navigating these choices is a team effort. Talk to your loved ones about how they want to live and learn what matters most to them. It’s also important to include their medical provider in the decision making process. With the right planning, these life changes can be a positive experience for everyone.