• Every day we add 10,000 new seniors to our taxed Medicare system.
• 10 Million family caregivers are losing an estimated $3 trillion by helping out their families!
• In Japan, adult diapers currently outsell baby diapers; predictions for the US are that adult diaper sales will increase 48% compared with baby diapers 2.6% by 2020!
• Many Americans, especially seniors, cannot afford the medical care we need. Tragically, medical costs are the #1 cause of bankruptcy!
One key to solving this epidemic in our homes and our nations is to re-examine the way we think about aging and family roles. Despite the fact that the needs and limitations of our aging parents are often greater than those of our children, we haven't yet seen it as our role, our mandate or our opportunity to similarly care for the faltering parents who once cared for us. POP has already begun to bring about this cultural shift and will continue to work on behalf of POP families and their loved ones until we and they have succeeded.
Critical to understanding the success of the POP movement is to see it as beginning a cultural shift in our nation's thinking. Therefore, the emphasis will be our educational programs. Not only does POP's work invite us to focus on appreciating the rich and unique offerings of our aging population, but also to shift our view of the roles we choose to play in the lives of our senior parents. Notice the difference between how we currently parent our children - whom we've taken to overly patrol or "helicopter" compared with how we currently parent our aging parents - whom we often manage to not see as needy, nor offer to meaningfully help, nor even know how to help.
These are the crucial topics POP will illuminate with education, public conversations, renewed influence and, ultimately, by encouraging the legislation that's needed in so many arenas such as health care, Social Security, and immigration- the source of many of our professional caregivers.
Unlike the overwhelming number of magazines, online sites and organizations that are offering their expertise on how to best parent our youngsters, there are very few places for the 1-in-4 families living through their POPcycles to find what they need, aside from www.ParentingOurParents.org. At that site, we already offer a blog, a nationally released book, a thriving online community, a huge resources list and a Certified POP Family Coaching program for struggling families to find personal guidance. With the increased visibility of POP's message and impact, we aim to expand our offerings as the top site for people to get the help they need.
The first project will be a course, "WHAT IS POP AND HOW CAN WE BEST DO IT," for members of the public" that is, folks currently going through their own POPcycles: both the middle-agers, or POParents, often "sandwiched" between their children and their aging parents - and the senior parents as well. In a classroom setting over a series of weeks, these "seasoned students" will learn about: the aging process; locating significant resources for aging families as well as intergenerational family dynamics. They will also be given the opportunity in class to practice one-on-one "exercises" that POParents and their aging parents ordinarily dread, like "Having the First Conversation" on offering help or how to discuss "taking away" the car keys while adding in more caring attention and more rewarding family time together.
The second project, "HOW TO USE POP COACHING TO HELP FAMILIES IN NEED," involves training more professional Social Workers, whose work is increasingly about aging families, to become Certified POP Family Coaches while they are earning their required pre-licensing hours. In doing so, POP will extend the existing cadre of our already Certified Coaches who are available nationwide to help combat the "ignorance" and distress of so many families. In this course, these professional counselors will learn the same POP coaching skills that have already proven so valuable to POP families
After these pilots are completed, we will seek ongoing funding to expand these educational and coaching projects onto the internet and via Skype and other ways of communicating widely. We are certain that our valuable information and uplifting point of view will positively impact the 1/4 American families currently going through this stage of life "cluelessly," and often very destructively – both financially and emotionally.