I was part of a team (stepmom and 3 siblings) that took care of my dad for the last 2 years of his life when he was in his 80s and was living at home. He had mobility issues along with gout and kidney problems. We all had discrete roles as all the kids worked full time. Since I was a lawyer, my role was to make sure all the legal papers regarding long-term care were in order, and that we carried out my Dad’s wishes to be home with the family as much as possible was our paramount goal. It was amazingly gratifying to assist w his transition, that included the day of death.
Three lessons learned were:
1. You can't do it all. It will bury you. Build a team.
2. Preparation is key. My dad's legal, medical and financial planning was excellent for years, making execution, while emotional at times, pretty straight forward.
3. Learn to be a forceful advocate for your parent when needed. Don't worry if you piss people off (dr, nurses, billing) in the process
Here is some advice for caregivers in similar situations.
· Have power of attorney, living will, will and health care proxy in place with one non- spouse as a back up.
· Scrutinize the care they receive.
· Make sure it is the quality you deserve.
· Watch their medication changes like a hawk.
· Plan on a fun time with a festive family picnic or outing.