Ira W. Yellen is founder and managing director of the Aging In Place Essential Toolkit™. His lifetime related to family caregiving responsibilities has provided him a wealth of information and ideas that has led to the creation of this product. This is his story.
We will die and will also be a caregiver in our lifetime, but healthcare our system is a confusing maze for many family caregivers that leaves the responsibility in making life and death decisions a stressful experience.
My experience with the healthcare started when I was 15 years old. That is when my father died at 42 years old, and most recently when my mom died at 92 years old in Florida from a fall from a femur leg bone that gave way. Over a period of 10 weeks, my sister (lived nearby) and I (lived in Connecticut) had to deal with: 2 hospitals, 2 nursing and rehab facilities, Hospice care, 7 doctors, 5 social workers, 4 case managers, 2 insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, State of Florida, and over 50 support staff.
Toward the end of her life, the deteriorating condition was too much for her, given that she had to overcome an C-Diff infection and poor rehab decisions and actions that shorten her life.
She wanted to die peacefully at home, and at least we were able to do so, but that was a terrible for her and our family to the end.
At same time, I was in the middle of building The Aging In Place Essential Toolkit, an online service to help families who are looking for caregiving support. Recently, I was co-chairing a patient care initiative at a large urban hospital. Hospitals to home care agencies have been clients for over 30 years. It did not matter. I thought I knew the health and home industry. It was a frustrating experience, is putting it mildly.
No family should have to go through a system that is not family-centric based. These very stressful moments create the rawest of human emotions. It is like a different kind of battle zone that millions of families face everyday.
It does not matter the wealth, connections, and knowledge one may have managing a loved-one's constant daily living attention and decisions. For the most part, the clinical care our medical professionals provide us is appreciated, and at times life saving, but once it is needed, millions of families become part of an unpredictable and incomprehensible system of care, especially post acute care at home or with an unexpected health situation.
Once a loved one leaves a hospital or a rehab facility is when important decisions have to be made about their assisted daily living needs. Many times, this is where the health care system fails our families.
My caregiving experience along with interviewing hundreds of family caregivers and their stories is why I have created this online toolkit. Major issues include:
Where does a family look to for help?
Are they equipped to provide sustained daily caregiving?
And what does that take?
These questions and many more have to be dealt with in caring for a loved one.
Contact us with your caregiving situation or by visiting one of sections that corresponds to your experience.