Are You Worried about Caring for Aging Parents?
Posted on Monday, July 15, 2013 10:28 PM
I'm posting this as a Boomer with aging parents. I'm extremely lucky that my 80+ year old parents are both very active, engaged in their lives and healthy. They are a tribute to what happens when you live a healthy lifestyle, have good genes and have an extended support system of neighbors, friends, family and community. I should be confident that 'everything will be fine' but I also see daily doses of reality in my home and office.
I haven't seen it all
by any means, but I have seen what happens when adult children are tested with the care and concern of their aging parents. Add having their own adult or younger children, college costs, careers, mortgages, their own disabilities, geographic distance, and challenges of modern life and it can challenging beyond what many comprehend. It can be remarkable what Boomers manage - I have seen clients who lost 3 or more loved ones within months, parents who dealt with disabled children -due to accidents then provide care for parents in cancer treatment at the same hospital for more than a year. I have seen adult children grieve parents and stuck in the guilt of having to place unruly, wandering parents into residential nursing homes. One thing I have learned - every person and situation is different. We don't know how long, what level of care, what it will cost financially or psychologically or if we will have to even go through it or not.
We can plan, arrange, pre-pay, coordinate and collaborate but a sudden heart attack, car accident or fall can erase it all and send us to a funeral director instead.
Planning and having information in advance is what reduces fear. Knowledge is power. Knowing what to monitor, ask, where to go, who can help is priceless when faced with the challenge of truly supporting and caring for loved ones. Knowing how to ask, how to manage resistance, how to stay calm in the crisis is empowering. With knowing that I wanted this site to be a source of good, simple, clear guidance I'm committed to doing the research for others. I love checklists, bullet lists, and clear directions. I don't want pages of statistics or references. I don't want confusing jargon that I'm not familiar with. When the time comes or as it passes I want to be aware of what I should be watching for and asking.
My site and blog can be accessed by cellphone - so you can bring it with you - and not even have to worry about losing it - or burying it in 'to read' files.
From Mayo clinics Website along with additions of my own:
CHECKLIST OF WARNING SIGNS OF AGING CHALLENGES OF ELDERLY PARENTS AND LOVED ONES:
Are they taking care of themselves?
___ Check their appearance - is their clothing clean or soiled?
___ Are they taking good care of themselves?
___ Has the attention they're paying to their appearance changed?
___ Is their hair clean?
___ Are they shaving regularly?
___ Are they brushing their teeth daily?
____Are they sharing about dental problems?
___ Do they maintain the standards they normally had?
___ Are they wearing same outfit repeatedly without washing?
___ Do they have noticeable body odors that aren't being addressed?
Are they experiencing memory loss?___
____ Are they forgetting common words?
____ Are they forgetting how to get to common destinations?
____ Are they unable to follow directions?
____ Are they forgetting to eat, bathe, hygiene basics?
____ Are they forgetting how to use basic appliances?
____ Are they managing their checkbooks and bill payment properly? (This is often the first sign of deterioration-as numbers require a higher level of thinking)If they are make an appointment with their physician where more comprehensive testing can take place.
Are they safe in their home?
____trip hazards: throw rugs, cords, piles of 'stuff', steep stairs____ Narrow stairs____ Dark travel paths - especially to bathrooms at night
Google and phone books list agencies that specialize in the care of our seniors, as well as social workers employed by most health care facilities. They are there to help, have the answers, and enjoy helping those in need. You may need to combine resources of several agencies - but speak up, ask and use what is available. Don't resist out of pride, embarrassment, modesty or ignorance!You will benefit from this information. Like me, you may not need it today, even tomorrow - although you might. Know that you're not alone in the journey - reach out and enjoy the most important thing of all - touching someone else -with your heart, soul, memories and letting them know they