Discussions Make a Difference!
What do you do when you see a parent declining in health? You truly feel they need help, but don’t really know where to start. Today we’re going to talk about working together as a family to make a decision. In situations where the family has efficiently worked together as a family team, they have the possibility to make necessary decisions. Decisions not only good for the declining parent, but is also good for the siblings and their families.
In the past, we’ve discussed the concept of important documents or pieces of information that the family needed to gather before having the decision meeting. We’ve also discussed how important it is to have discussions with your parent before having the Mom Centered Family Meeting. Today we’re going to talk about the decision itself.
Deciding on the Type of Care Needed
Normally “the course of action decision” on behalf of a declining parent is not just one decision. In reality it is a series of necessary decisions which are made before and after the big family meeting. The first decisions made by family members are the amount and type of care needed. These initial decisions are usually made by:
Medical Assessment and Recommendations
Hopefully Mom has seen her doctor recently and has received a medical assessment or evaluation. In many situations, the primary care physician will refer Mom to a specialist who would make further evaluations. Together, these professionals may give you specific recommendations and direction.
You know your Mom better than anyone. You know what she was able to do well only a few months ago. Likewise, you can see what she is struggling with now. A family assessment is based on personal observations. The family can do much to start the process of putting systems in place that make it easier for Mom to remain at home.
Deciding to Help
First, the adult kids must become aware of the medical assessment. Then do their own assessment of a parent’s declining condition. After, they must decide what they are going to do to help. It’s not that they do not trust doctors, but it must become real to them. To some of the adult kids, these necessary decisions are made almost unconsciously and automatically. Their Mom needs help so they immediately start helping in any way possible.
Other adult kids may live out of state or have busy families and very busy jobs which make it difficult for them to provide the care needed. I spoke to an adult family member only yesterday who was in the horns of this dilemma. She saw the need – but for various reasons was unable to do much to help.
With larger families, several discussions take place between the siblings to determine not only what help is needed, but who will do what. Several of the siblings may live out of state. Distance may make it difficult to coordinate tasks and to get everything on the same page as to what is needed.
Deciding Upon a Help Mom Plan
When the adult kids have crossed the above hurdles, then it’s time to get into the process of coming up with a going forward plan for Mom. We refer to this process as the Help Mom Plan.
There are several steps to this process, some of which were discussed in this week’s earlier editions. If Mom is clear cognitively but needs some help physically, then the obvious place to start is having a discussion with Mom to see how you can help. Sometimes just a few small bits of assistance can make a big difference in her life.
In other cases where the need is greater, it may take the coordinated effort between several family members. In this event, after speaking to Mom and each other, the family may need to schedule a Mom Centered Family meeting where Mom’s needs and their availability are discussed. It’s important to do some fact finding before this meeting to determine what finances are available and what estate planning documents have been prepared. Once the fact finding has been done and family member availability is discussed, the planning process becomes easier and good results can be achieved.
We wish you the best as you start the planning process for your declining parent that is good for them and good for you!
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, considering we barely know each other. However, we fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.
In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. We understand the difficulty of necessary decisions. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community! There is nothing more cleansing for our situation than knowing that we are not alone!
We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, direction and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.
Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter
Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community to plug into would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!
Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link – help.mom/cc – and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.
Then they can enjoy weekly tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!
Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!