Suddenly it feels like the world has Stopped on a dime because it seems as though your parent(s) who were doing just fine, now are in dire need of your help. Perhaps they had an accident and are in the hospital with rehabilitation looming, or perhaps they had a stroke which caused a loss of speech, or they have hidden signs of dementia for long enough and now the truth has come out in a big way.
Or it’s been Gradual.. and everything about their aging has seemed as though things were being taken care of, and all was relatively in order.. until it’s not – and you have to do something about it now. But you live in another state!
Approximately 7 million adult children are caregivers.. and the average time spent per adult fluctuates between 50 and 100 hours per week! Most adult children are not prepared when the trigger occurs which forces them to stop and figure out what to do – but there are terrific tips in the link below which can help you make a plan with plenty of good advice to steer your way through this challenge.
To name a few: 1) Learn what you need to know about whatever the current issues are; make a list of medications so you can see the extent of what is being treated, and whether there is a common portal or doctor who can reassure you the medications are not putting your parent at risk for serious interactions. If it’s dementia or Alzheimer’s (see our previous blog on the differences! https://agingtopic.com/2022/09/18/difference-between-alzheimers-and-dementia) or other mental issues, speak with their doctor and decide what works best moving forward on whether they can age at home with in-home care, or move to an assisted living home. There are many resources available, or geriatric care managers who can assist you as well. 2) Find out if your parent has an advance directive, and review it with them. Be sure they have a Will in place and updated, as this will save you many headaches down the road. 3) If they are going to age at home, prepare a list of home modifications to keep them safe, and interview several in-home caregivers because a good personality fit goes a long way toward a peaceful, happy transition. 4) Find a way to get them to accept help managing their finances, assets, and paying bills through either a family member or designated and trusted friend. This involves a bit of red tape but is a huge help most times as a great stress reliever and way to avoid costly mistakes. 5) When you are able to be there in person, be sure it’s not just about being a caregiver when you are there – stop and enjoy their company, whether it’s having a cup of tea and enjoying past memories or playing a game or watching a good movie.. If you are seldom able to be there in person, be sure to make phone calls more frequently – most adults are surprised when they find out how much that phone call each week means! There are many, many more great tips and suggestions for creating your own plan to make your way through this stage.
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