Journey Stop #2: The Serious Time Stage

Journey Stop #2 is what we refer to as the Serious Time Stage. This is when the time commitment gets “Serious”. At this stage, you are spending between 3 – 6 hours per day helping your Loved One with their daily activities.

Brief Recap of Journey Stop #1

In our last blog post, we discussed Journey Stop #1. If you have been helping a declining parent for some time, you may be well acquainted with the early part of the decline which we refer to as Journey Stop #1. It’s hard to remember, but when Mom started her decline, you were just beginning to notice that Mom needed help. The journey started with you just stopping by to visit; then Mom declined even more. At some point, you realized that some things would not be done without assistance; unless you did them yourself, recruited a family member to help or hired someone to do them.

Now the Care Needs are Getting Serious

Despite all of your best efforts, Mom is continuing to decline and her needs are becoming much more pronounced. At Journey Stop #2, you are spending from 3 – 6 hours per day to assist with her care. For example, you may be spending an hour or two in the morning helping to get the day started; perhaps two to four hours every evening doing anything and everything necessary to keep Mom at home organized (at least for another day).

At this journey stop, your Loved One starts leaning on you pretty heavy. If you don’t stop by in the morning, you know that Mom may not have eaten breakfast, may not have taken her meds and may have needed help getting to the bathroom. You take time to help her with all of these tasks and get settled in as much as possible for the day. If your Mom has mild cognitive impairment, you may have to hire caregivers at this stage, at least part-time. In addition, you may have tried to enlist the help of other family members, neighbors or friends to help.

You may have a neighbor or caregiver check on her at noon to help with meals or meds. Then in the evening, you stop by for another couple of hours to help with everything again. Depending on the diagnosis, full-time caregivers may or may not be needed at night.

Is it time to reevaluate?

At this stage, it is becoming more difficult to keep your Loved One at home. You may be reevaluating the ‘stay at home’ decision every day; sometimes several times a day. The truth is, it is hard to replicate facility level care at home. It can be done but it takes more time, more helpers and more money. If the you and your team reach the decision to continue at home for as long as possible, there are several factors to consider.

The first consideration is you. By the time you get to this stage, you are most likely beyond exhausted; especially if you have been providing the care yourself. Even if you are directing the care from afar, you have discovered how much time, energy and effort are required.

If you have been doing most of the work yourself, then it’s definitely time to get some help. The two obvious sources of in-home assistance are:

Family

Some families are fortunate enough to have several capable family members who are willing to help; some are not. See our blog post entitled Family Meetings with Momma for tips on having a discussion regarding

  1. Who is willing to help
  2. What needs to be done
  3. Who will do what

Paid Non-Medical Caregivers

Finding the right caregiver(s) can be a game-changer. This can allow you to get spend more time with your family, focus on work and/or get some sleep. The two primary catches are:

  1. Finding the right caregiver –  Judging by their advertisements on TV, all caregivers may look the same, but they are not. There are things that some “don’t do”. For example, some aren’t allowed to lift, which is necessary when transferring (moving Mom from the bed to wheelchair to toilet to shower to dining room table, etc); some provide transportation to doctor’s appointments and some do not; some do cleaning, cooking, etc., and some do not. The point is to determine whether this caregiver can do what you need.
  2. Usually non-medical home care is private pay – The cost of non-medical home care is out of pocket. In our area of the country, non-medical home care is around $20 per hour. Therefore, the primary issue with this level of care is how it will be funded. Plans need to be developed at the family meeting to see how much money is available to pay for this care, how many hours per day will be needed to supplement family caregivers and a determination of how long the money will last.

As you can see (and maybe have experienced), Journey Stop #2 is the Serious Time Stage. At Journey Stop #1, you could do everything while keeping your job and family obligations intact. At Journey Stop #2, it’s almost impossible. This is the point where, unless you are retired already, you may decide to quit your job or go part-time (if your boss will let you); OR hire professional caregivers to supplement care.

Conflicting Priorities

You may be doing everything possible to provide for your Mom’s care but are finding it hard to cope. You may be wondering how to manage all of your conflicting priorities. For example, how can you continue to

  1. Spend any time with your own family?
  2. Continue to work at your full time job?
  3. Maintain your own health and sanity?

Good questions. It’s not easy, but for a few tips, download our FREE Journey Stop #2 Checklist. Whether you are personally providing care for your Mom OR whether you are directing and managing her care from afar, these Checklist items should help.