Weighing the Options for Elderly Parents
Today we’re going to discuss ways to manage a situation where you are thrust headlong into the world of “Need for Speed Planning”. This is a topic that we’ve only touched on in the past but we see families struggling with on a daily basis. When an elderly parent declines suddenly, families often have to make very difficult decisions in a very short period of time.
The reason this is important is that many times when an elderly parent starts to decline, it happens suddenly and catches everyone off guard. In most cases no advance planning has been done. As a result things can get out of balance very quickly when the bad thing actually happens. The adult kids find themselves trying to figure everything out all at once.
When something happens like when Dad’s Alzheimer’s “suddenly gets worse” or Dad has a stroke or suffers a bad fall, it may catch everyone wondering what to do now. The kids may not have anticipated this scenario and have spent very little time planning for the contingencies.
Just Hoping That This Wouldn’t Happen!
The family may have realized that things were changing but were hoping that this bad thing wouldn’t happen. But when this thing does happen, the adult kids are caught off guard and the family finds themselves hastily scurrying about trying to determine what to do. Because of the need to make a quick decision (“Speed Planning”), the family often makes rash decisions, such as putting Dad in the Nursing Home (when there may be other less restrictive and less expensive options available).
Weighing The Options
Hasty Nursing Home admissions are often knee jerk reaction decisions as to “what to do with Dad” without having considered other options that may be available. Especially in cases where a situation occurred that caught the family unprepared, off guard and in a position where they had to make an immediate decision, the nursing home option seems to win the day. Knee-jerk reactions are often the result of “speed planning” because the best plans are well thought-out.
However, sometimes after the family meets with the medical staff, looks at the resources available and considers the options, a nursing home admission is the best option for the family unit.
An example of such a situation is where Dad fell again, broke his hip, and will need substantial assistance, even after going through rehab. The kids know that if he did go back home that Mom, who can barely take care of herself, would also try to take care of Dad. As a result a situation would be created that is detrimental to the health of Mom and Dad. The kids have to work and can’t be there to personally provide the needed care – so the Nursing Home looks like the only choice.
Even though Dad may be able to fare well at home with substantial assistance, this family may not have the time or resources available to make it happen. In cases like this, the family weighs the options and looks at:
- What is best for Dad?
- Where could he get the best care?
- What is best for Mom?
- What is best for the family as a whole?
- What resources are available?
In the perfect world, we would arrange things where Dad could get the care he needed at home – but in the “real world” we often have to consider the whole picture.
Am I Doing The Right Thing?
We hear that question a lot from various family members who are thrust into a position of having to make a quick decision like this. It’s a tough decision, but especially difficult when you know that the quality of your parent’s life is literally in your hands.
It’s especially tough when what you want to do, which is just stay home and take care of Dad – is tempered by reality. You’ve got a job or business to operate. You’ve got a family of your own depending on you. And you may live out of state and are not physically there to help.
This dilemma plays out a lot during holiday get-togethers. The kids come home for what they thought would be a short visit – then encounter an emergency situation with their parents. In some cases, the parent had slowly declined over the past year and had reached a point where a care decision could no longer be delayed. Some decisions, however, to be made now and the kids knew that it had to be made quickly.
A quick decision was necessary because (1) Mom or Dad’s health required immediate action; (2) the kids had very little time to act; (3) they couldn’t just go back home without doing something.
Many of these kids did take some action such as doing family meetings, seeking immediate medical attention for their declining parent and taking actions to make homes safer.
But they knew they needed to do more and are still struggling with the question of what to do next. It is for this reason that we wrote Mom’s Christmas Shocker. This book discusses the very situation that we discussed herein, which is how to make a difficult decision such as discussed above in a very short period of time.
To read more about Mom’s Christmas Shocker click on this link to go to the page where this book is discussed in greater detail.
Were YOU Shocked During the Holidays?
Were you shocked over the Holidays when you visited your parent and realized things are worse than you thought? You have your own life, work and responsibilities. What will you do? Let our eBook help you with your “speed planning”.
We’ve been there & we understand.
That’s why we wrote a book to help you make the best decisions for your parent as quickly as possible.
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, but you can trust us. We want to help! 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 emotions involved while making 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 you can trust 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!
Nothing herein is intended to be legal advice. These are just things that we have seen various families try when struggling with this difficult issue. Each situation is unique and requires specific professional assistance to resolve. Please contact your local medical or legal advisors to seek assistance in appropriately resolving this issue for your family.