Care for the Caregiver -- You!

Robert Banfield, Nancy Schieck Banfield, Jeanne Banfield Hawkins

As our parents get older, where can we turn for advice and information to help us deal with everything?

My husband John and I were having dinner with two other Boomer couples. We've been friends for years and were catching up on our lives and families. Near the end of the evening, a friend commented, "We used to get together and talk about the challenges of raising our kids. Now we get together and talk about our aging parents."

Commiserating about our kids used to cover skinned knees, chicken pox, late night emergency room visits, the teenage years of parties, fast driving, the opposite sex, dangers of drugs, and college applications. Now, we talk about the challenges of helping our parents and the awkward role reversal that's taking place. When did we start worrying about our parents drinking and driving?

Who can I turn to?

My grandparents and great-grandparents lived into their mid 90s. So there's been a lot of caregiving going on in my family for a long time, but not until my parents and in-laws needed help did I understand the full impact of family caregiving -- because now it's my turn, my responsibility. I'm supposed to know what to do and how to help them. To make matters worse, I live almost 600 miles away and can't always be with them when they need me. (The photo is my dad Bob Banfield, my late mom Nancy Schieck Banfield, and me on the right.)

I've shared my frustrations, fears and overwhelming guilt with my colleagues at Hawkins Media and our publishing division Advisor Media. Soon, we were all sharing stories and seeking advice on helping the Seniors in our families. What's the best nursing home for a parent with Alzheimer's? Who installs grab bars? How do you tell your father it's not safe for him to drive any longer? What is this Medicare D stuff? Who makes healthy meals that are easy to heat? How do you make your parents' home safe? Where can you find quality recreation activities for Seniors? How do they get there? How do you navigate through doctors, nurses, and insurance systems? What happens when the Seniors' money runs out? How do I choose between my kids, my spouse, my job, and my parents?

None of us had a good source, a guide for what to do, how to feel, and how to make the best of every situation. We knew there were answers out there, we just didn't know where to find them. So, we created some online publications and web sites to help us all.

Boomer Advisor, Senior Solutions Advisor, BOOMERsphere, and more

Fortunately, our company has been providing expert advice and know-how for more than 25 years. We have access to essential information and key connections. Springing from our main site www.Advisor.com, we now publish Boomer.Advisor.com, and a variety of sub-sites and sections including Senior.Advisor.com, Family.Advisor.com, Money.Advisor.com, Health.Advisor.com, Travel.Advisor.com, Entertainment.Advisor.com, and many more, plus BOOMERsphere.com devoted to helping the Baby Boom Generation.

The mission is to help Boomers with all aspects of family and living. Of course, being a Boomer means many things, including lifestyle, work, play, home, travel, health, money, and more -- including the challenges of Boomers helping their parents.

Many Boomers are becoming the caretakers and often hands-on caregivers of their aging parents, the generation known as Seniors. Managing and improving the lives of Senior relatives isn't always easy, but it's our job. We all want the best for our families. We want them to be safe, happy, and engaged in life. So a key mission for us is to give you the hard-to-find answers and practical help you need in Senior.Advisor.com and Caregiver.Advisor.com. We are working with top experts to give you detailed advice, the resources you need, the steps you can take right now, and the path you can pursue to help your entire family. We also share our own discoveries, such as my husband John's airport security tips for Seniors learned from helping his dad.

We cover the gamut, from everyday Senior life to end-of-life, always with the focus on problem solving. And, just as important as solving problems, we show you how to help your family's Seniors have fun, and maintain joy, laughter, and sanity. If there's a topic you'd like to see covered in more depth, please let us know. If you're an expert in such an area, we encourage you to contribute your expertise.

Being a Boomer continues to be an adventure. Some of us are still working, and want to keep it up. Some of us are retired and want to make the most of it. We all have challenges with money, health, security, family -- the hard stuff. We all have desires, also including family, and travel and fun and a satisfying lifestyle. All of these are topics for us, so we hope you'll visit us often.

And, if you have Boomer wisdom, tips, information, or interesting stories, we hope you'll contact us to share them. Our BoomerYears.com section is a wonderful place to tell those tales your family and friends enjoy hearing.

We're in this together -- let's help each other.