Saturday, January 24, 2009

Playing Parent To Mom And Dad

(NAPSI)-Baby boomers should be forgiven if they sometimes compare their aging parents to their children. We become concerned when they're ill and they drive us crazy by misplacing everything from their keys to their eyeglasses.

It's an issue increasingly facing "the sandwich generation"-the nearly 10 million Americans trying to simultaneously juggle raising their kids and taking care of one or more aging parents. A few frantic phone calls from a confused parent who's "lost" something is usually enough to convince an adult child that action must be taken.

Some of these problems share the same solution many parents use to keep their young children from losing things: labeling their belongings.

"The right labels are versatile enough to provide organizational solutions for any age range," says Amy Lipton, the U.S. president of a label-making company called Stuck on You. "That includes those in their golden years."

Lipton's bright, easy-to-see labels can help keep track of clothing, eyeglasses, toiletries, pills, TV remotes and other daily-use items. They're also waterproof and durable, making them great for elderly parents-whether in assisted living or on their own-who are constantly losing track of small belongings or even wheelchairs and other expensive medical equipment like canes and walkers.

What's more, for those seniors who do live in either nursing homes or some type of assisted-living arrangements, the special Stuck on You medical and allergy alert labels provide a heads-up to nursing and dining room staff regarding things like food and drug allergies, diabetes and memory impairment since they can be custom-printed with any vital information (including emergency contact details).

Indeed, the labels can even help seniors with dementia since they may be customized with unique icons that are easy to spot. Studies have shown that pictures and symbols are easier to recognize than words.

Labels aside, doctors say it's important to talk with your parents about how frequently they misplace items and other changes you may have noticed in their behavior.

To avoid alarming them, Stella Henry, R.N., an eldercare specialist who has been quoted in Time, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, says to make clear that your chief concern is your parents' well-being. "If you say 'you have to do this or do that,' you'll lose them," she explains. "Instead, say something like, 'Mom, I'm concerned about you. It makes me worried to see you like this.'"

For more information on labeling items for seniors, visit

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