How to submit a comment or a story on the Community Forum.

Community Forum Guidelines

Helpful Homecare Info
May 21, 2017

Being Near to Mom's Caregiving Needs: I had no choice.

0 comments

Edited: Jul 18, 2017

 

Through no choice of my own, I became the primary caregiver of my elderly, chronically ill mother following the 2013 death of my father in a neighboring state. Within weeks, I realized that my mother hadn’t been apart from my father for 60+ years; clearly, major changes had to be made. For many reasons, including geographic, greater access to better health care and more appropriate, same-campus facilities for the elderly, I moved her to a suburb of the metropolitan city that I had called home for 35 years.

 

Fortunately, assisted living facilities offering a continuum of care were available in my state. This solved the overwhelming problem of having to move from facility to facility, depending on her health, and provided much needed stability. Initially, I selected the least dependent service arrangement for my mom, thinking I had learned my independence from her. To the contrary, it meant that I became responsible for everything from medication disbursement to grocery shopping. That routine quickly gave way to exhaustion so I adjusted accordingly with the service provider. The commute to and from the facility also was another hardship, so my husband and I sold our home in the city where we had lived for 20 years and bought a house to be closer to her facility. Meanwhile, I continued to manage my consultancy practice, with my mom eventually becoming my largest pro bono client.

 

The team approach of caregivers was helpful. Researching what your loved one may be eligible for is worth the time. From the Veteran’s Administration to Medicare, this may be the last generation who will benefit from federal assistance. Medical professionals, case workers and many others are typically more than willing to help.

 

Three Lessons:

  • Establish boundaries early on for yourself and your loved ones. Stick to it.

  • Delegate anything and everything you can to other professionals, including home care services, transportation, healthcare aides, financial experts and legal counselors.

  • Research eligibility requirements for various healthcare assistance from government entities of all levels.

Recommendations/Advice:

  • Take care of yourself first. If you don’t, you’re not able to care for someone else.

  • Rely on your own support network, longtime group of friends or whomever can be there for you to listen and empathize.

  • Learn from others’ experience. For example, I had never used online subscription services to order regular products delivered to loved one until someone else told me about it.

  • This may be the one and last time to get to know your loved one, bring closure to a situation, unload a burden, or forgive a past deed. Take advantage of that if needed.

Susan

Nashville, TN

New Posts
  • Helpful Homecare Info
    Aug 19

    The following article is from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York "If you’re a working caregiver, you may have experienced Family Responsibility Discrimination (FRD). FRD arises when employers take adverse action against employees who have caregiving responsibilities at home, whether for children, older adults, or ill or disabled family members, and it is often based on the biased assumption that caregiving duties interfere with being able to do one’s job. A recent study by the Center for WorkLife Law found that lawsuits filed by employees with family caregiving obligations increased almost 400 percent in the past decade, a time during which the overall number of employment discrimination cases filed decreased. A small but growing number of those cases involve caring for older family members. According to the report, claims of FRD relating to eldercare involve denial of leave and retaliation for taking leave.... Read more "
  • Helpful Homecare Info
    Jul 16

    1. Create a Secure Home Have a safety assessment done. Hire a carpenter to install rails; ramps or other items that help your loved one maintain their balance. Remove anything on the floor they can trip or get caught up on. 2. Install Monitoring Systems There are many home monitoring options out there that are easy to install and use. These can be lifesavers when you can’t be at your loved one’s home right away and want to know everything is OK. 3. Support Mobility. Prevent Falls It’s proven that practice with balance can help prevent falls as we age. Taking your loved one to a falls prevention class can do wonders for their balance and prevent life-threatening injury. 4. Give the Right Medications at the Right Times If your loved one is forgetful, you’ll need to pre-load their medications and either call or visit them to make sure they take them. If you can’t be around to give your loved one their medications, and you know they will not remember consistently, you will need to find licensed professional support to come to the home and make sure they are taking them as prescribed. Depending on the need, home health agencies can arrange for medication visits by licensed nurses or certified nursing assistants. 5. Support Overall Fitness and Well-Being Walking or gentle exercise will do more than help prevent falls. Activity is good for our muscles, hearts and minds. Encourage your loved one to move as much as they are able. Find seniors exercise classes they can easily get to, or drive them there. 6. Monitor (and Support) Hygiene Is your loved one’s body odor becoming more pronounced when you visit? Are they keeping their home as clean as they once did? If you notice significant changes, it’s time to gently introduce support. It may start with doing the laundry or housework, or hiring an aide to help with these chores. 7. Check Vision Regularly Loss of vision can lead to accidents. Not being able to see correctly can also lead to feelings of anxiety or depression. Make sure your loved one sees an eye doctor yearly, and gets re-fitted for glasses every time their prescription changes. Make sure they get checked for glaucoma and macular degeneration every year. If they already have these eye diseases, it’s critical that they take prescribed medications and get injections on a regular basis to prevent their vision from deteriorating further. 8. Assess Driving Skills / Coordinate Transportation If your elderly loved one is still behind the wheel, make sure he or she is still a capable driver. Taking away a parent’s keys is tough, but necessary if they’re no longer able to safely navigate the road. If they no longer drive, help them find a senior transportation program or bus that serves the places they want to go. Get to know the routes and the drivers. Ask your loved one to tell you when they are going out, and where. Ask them to call you when they get home. 9. Support Medical Needs Get to know your elderly parents’ or relatives’ primary care physicians. Accompany them on visits and talk to their doctors. If your elderly loved one is not capable of understanding their doctors or making decisions, engage an attorney and get your loved one’s written approval to become their health care proxy. This will enable you to make medical decisions on your loved ones’ behalf, choose or change doctors, or select health care facilities. 10. Keep Communication Open Whether you have a professional home caregiver helping out or whether you’re going it alone, caregiving for an elderly loved one is stressful. You may be dealing with siblings who disagree with how things should be done. One sibling may feel like they’re doing all the work and aren’t getting support. Others may not want to bring in professional home care. These are very common scenarios, and there is no one right answer. In my experience, keeping the lines of communication open, no matter how stressed we are or how “taboo” the subject may seem, is in the end the best course of action. DOWNLOAD A COPY
  • Helpful Homecare Info
    Jul 16

    Carolyn has written The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents, which is available in print, digital and audiobook formats. She blogs weekly at  Forbes.com  and at AgingParents.com, where she discusses news items and issues pertaining to aging, healthy aging, the care of elders and the concerns of adult children and caregivers. Visit agingparents.com for more information about topics that will help you be the best family caregiver you can be.

Sign up for the Caregiver E-Newsletter »

The Aging in Place Essential Toolkit™  addresses the challenges that individuals and families face in caring for a loved one or themselves. It is a one-stop resource of practical advice, services, and support that helps people plan for how they will live a good life as they or a loved one age.

Tips for taking care of yourself or a loved one.

COMPANY

LEARN MORE

OTHER

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
  • Pinterest - Black Circle

Call 774-377-5818

© 2019 iNeedHomecareNow, LLC All Rights Reserved
Aging in Place Essential Toolkit is a registered trademark.