- This topic has 19 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated April 25, 2013 at 12:22 am by .
- April 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm #317166
Is anyone else caring for elderly parents?
You would be amazed at the number of free assists available that make life easier. Everything from knowing how to register information online so that if an ambulance is called to your elderly parents home, medical records, health history, contact numbers, prescriptions and advance directives are made known to emergency medical personnel to daily organization and making sure meds are taken correctly.
My two sisters, my brother and I use a home organization website to coordinate medical appointments, shopping lists, coverage schedules (we rotate care so that no single sibling is burdened), and an online journal to keep one another up to date on what is happening.
We care for my father who is 89 and his older sister who is 93. Both wish to live in their own homes, so we are trying to honor their wishes to the best of our ability. None of us live in the same state as they do.
We have learned so much that we would like to pass on, but there is so much more we need to learn and this site has been a real Godsend for helping us afford to do this.
How many other people are caring for elderly parents? What are your biggest challenges? What do you need help with?
What are little tricks and tips you have learned to use to make the process smoother?
Please share your thoughts, so that we can learn from one-another! jrodgers
- April 10, 2013 at 11:10 pm #438819
I have older parents, but not to the point they need help. I do live very close to them so if they need anything I can be there in minutes. I do however, think I will be in this position within 10 years.
I know in Indiana, the State health insurance (Medicaid) does have some resources that can help the elderly out.
it usually takes just a phone call to the state.
- April 11, 2013 at 1:36 am #438810
My mother passed away in 1999 (she is deeply missed by all), and I am the sole caregiver for my 83 year old Dad — even though I have 3 other siblings (they do not want anything to do with him, even though I am POSITIVE they will come out of the woodwork like roaches once he passes).
It’s a struggle — making sure he takes his meds, arguing with him to go get seen when he isn’t feeling well or something hurts, financially he is broke and relies on us to help him with his bills and all groceries…which makes us hurt a little bit more (we are 1.5 incomes here–I am part time). dh, dd and i are culinary students, so in college full time, and dh works full time.
his house is paid off, and he wants to move to an apartment — so we are looking to put that house on the market, and buy a duplex in our city, so that he can be closer to us and have a smaller space than he presently has in the middle of nowhere.
somehow we manage — we talk daily (sometimes more), and we are over to his house at least 2x a week, and I grocery shop/cook for him 3 – 5 times per week (in addition to work and school schedules)…
I wish my siblings pitched in sometimes, but then other times, I am glad that I don’t have to deal with their whiney butts.
- April 11, 2013 at 1:50 am #438812
you just really need one more thing on your plate, don’t you? My husband was his dad’s sole care taker when he passed at the age of 49. the other kids weren’t around until dad died.
I met my husband 2 weeks before his dad passed. so I wasn’t much help. he was also in school full time.
I know a little of how stressful it was for him. his dad wasn’t sick for long, so it didn’t have a huge financial impact.
I pray that you can find some time for yourself to have some calmness in your day.
- April 11, 2013 at 5:48 am #438822
I think you just learn to adjust to the hecticness — I know that I have (sort of) — the financial burden, notsomuch…I really resent my siblings — I have written all of them off, and have “adopted” some instead (I can always use another sibling LOL). In writing off the blood ones, I also managed to write off their offspring, which means any gifts they get for whatever the occasion, won’t be coming out of my money (hidden blessing — since the youngest sibling has 12 children of her own and one on the way).
I do have some time to myself — I take time to walk through (surprisingly enough) the floral department at Meijers and study the plants / flowers and remember God put me here for a reason… 🙂
I do long for summer though — bike riding, swimming, botanical gardens, kayaking, hiking, etc. (it’s peaceful)
- April 11, 2013 at 11:00 am #438861
my escapes are my books. no matter how hectic life gets I always try to read at least an hour before bed. I am glad that you have hobbies that you can get out and do to keep you young.
- April 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm #438873
You would be surprised how many people don’t know what resources are available to elders and their family’s who are caring for them. I know what is available in California (I live there) but my Dad is in Kentucky and we are still in the discovery process.
We are trying to sign him up for ADA Senior curb to curb transit, and have been denied (it is in appeal) My Dad is deaf and has low vision so he can’t drive to the nearest bus stop, yet that is the option that is offered. His next door neighbor, who is 20 years younger and a driver uses the service all of the time. This is just one of the many challenges to elder care in his area.
We had a sitter service (in spite of Dad’s recent stroke and disabilities he still does most things for himself – a sitter is there for safety). The sitter service’s employees were not trained in cpr or first aid and although they were delightful people, they did little for the huge sum of money they charged. kentucky has only recently begun to regulate senior in home services so this is a new process for everyone.
we have now invested in an emergency alert button that will signal someone in the event of a fall – it uses a desk top transmitter that relies on the client falling within earshot of the receiver otherwise there can be no communication between the response team and my dad. yesterday, the alert button fell off the bed while dad was changing clothes, luckily i was there, because he had no clue that they had even responded.
does anyone have experience with the different alert buttons? i’ve seen ratings online, but they appear to be contrived for advertising purposes, so i’m not sure if the ratings are pure fabrications or really mean something. can you share your experiences with these.
after purchasing an alert button, apparently my dad’s name got in the system along with his phone number which seems to have been purchased by telemarketers who are calling incessantly. we have only had the phone and button for less than a month. elderly people are often considered soft targets for groups soliciting donations and since the donations are taken over the phone and there is no third party verification, there is no proof that the senior’s stated donation is the donation that was intended.
mostly these are scams that try to get bank account information or credit card information. they may offer “free” senior services or independent living aids (alert buttons, glucose meters etc)
one of the huge problems with the elderly is that they lack a sense of taste or smell, so they are prone to food poisoning due to leftovers or saved food. a solutions is senior meals services, but these are limited and although the local government may have some investment, the major cost falls of non-profits, churches, and volunteer donations.
often seniors are disoriented about the date and time – especially true if they have hearing or vision problems – because they can’t read a paper easily and very often they are isolated at home. a few churches have a seniors support ministry who will visit or make calls to seniors on a regular basis to help them stay oriented and make sure they are okay. this makes a world of difference.
my siblings and i trade off and as a group we are discovering all sorts of services that are free of charge that help assure that dad’s wishes, his medical records, and all of his contact information is readily available to emergency response personnel. i’ll see if i can post some of these on the freebies page, but it would be great to have a mini forum where they are all in one place. jrodgers
- April 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm #438874
Just an idea, you might want to call an alarm company like Brinks or ADP. I know where I worked they had sensors throughout the building and no matter where you were the alarm company could turn them on and hear what was going on. they monitored for machine alarms. they could hear movement if someone broke in or if we set the alarm off accidently we could tell the alarm company who we were.
they would put the director on the phone and she could listen in too and she could tell the alarm company that we were to be there or no we weren’t. I know our alarm company here at my house offers many different type of panic buttons. the also have security cameras and security lights that can flash to show an alarm has been set off.
I know some of these services can be expensive, but try to talk them down. We were able to get our bill cut in half just by asking.
- April 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm #438865
We seem to struggle a lot over the meds issues. Dad maintains that he gets to stop taking his meds when he runs out. We have automatic refills at the pharmacy, they will even call the doctor and request an updated prescription if needed.
We have a large pill box and we have made a digital pill chart with pictures of the meds and information about when and how to take them. Dad refills his box on Saturday night using the chart
We check his box and since he’s on thyroid medication we can tell when he has tried to take all of his pills at once. Synthroid has to be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then wait 30-45 min before eating. If he takes them all together he doesn’t get the full dose because it binds to other pills or food.
Thyroid is essential for him to be mentally clear, so its really pretty obvious when this happens.
If we have a questions about whether or not he’s forgotten them we can check by looking at the box. Jrodgers
- April 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm #438877
It sounds like you have your hands full. My siblings and I sometimes argue or get our feelings hurt, and usually the lines are split 2 siblings against 2 siblings. I adds to the difficulty of making decisions, and making sure we are all on the same page.
I am a teacher who is losing income to take care of my Dad, but I figure that’s the least I can do, he has done so much for me. My other siblings also make sacrifices to be here with Dad. We don’t know how long we can continue to do this, but we are trying to make it work for all of us.
One thing that we do agree on is a POA (Power of Attorney) for financial matters. My dad participates in his financial decisions and writes checks and makes decisions to the best of his ability on a day-to-day basis but my brother takes over for taxes and to make sure that bills do not go unpaid. We take a picture with our cell phone of any bills that arrive while we are here and send them to my brother via email, then we put the paperwork in a special folder.
If my brother needs to act on it sooner, rather than later he can pay the bill by printing out a copy of the picture) It also assures that we are reimbursed for travel expenses. My brother also has signing authority for Dad’s bank accounts in the event of his death. This avoids frozen bank accounts when you need money to pay bills and burial expenses.
The second thing Dad has is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care which gives my brother the authority to make health care decisions for Dad in the event that he is unable to make them. Dad does not wish extraordinary measures to be undertaken in the event that he has no hope of a reasonable recovery.
The third legal document Dad has is a simple wil (notarized)l naming my brother as executor,and dividing the estate into equal shares, so there are no arguments.
If you feel that your siblings may appear to see if there is an estate, you may want to investigate having similar documents drawn up. Most hospitals now have the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care available on request.
I wish we could do the duplex thing, we probably should have done something similar when my Dad was 83 and my Mom died, now if we move him into a new environment we could lose him forever. He has to work so hard to understand what people are saying (even with a cochlear implant) and he can no longer read lips. He is familiar with his house and he manages well at home.
He was visiting his sister in an assisted living center and working on a care plan for her and himself (thinking and writing – after a stroke 4 months earlier!) Suddenly he looked up and was scared because he didn’t know where he was. They ambulanced him to the hospital and he was fine answering all of the questions – He had simply become mentally overloaded and momentarily lost his sense of time and place. We have to work to avoid these complex decision making activities – we really didn’t understand that this sort of an episode was possible until then.
Now we understand in a new way what the doctor meant when he said avoid complex decisions!
We struggle with the meds issue and making sure he has enough calories (brains don’t work well if they are starved and Dad forgets to eat) Boost has helped immensely. With your culinary expertise you could probably create a drink or meal supplement and sell the recipes in a book on Amazon.
How do you handle getting him to agree to go to the doctor?
- April 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm #438876
Does anyone know if there are emergency buttons with two way communicators in them? That would be great. Another issue we have is when Dad is wearing the button and gets close to the communication station there is increased background noise on his cochlear implant that makes it difficult for him to understand the response member.
It would be great to get some sort of a systematic list of what is available and then poll users about how well they think the service works for them. I haven’t been able to find a truly objective source for this information. JRodgers
- April 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm #438864
Thanks Bethaliz, We are trying to spin “gold from straw” My siblings and I would love to share what we have learned and learn from others as well. Getting the information into the hands of the people that need it is so important. Senior Care can be extremely expensive the round the clock sitters whose only duty was to drive him to grocery shopping, appointments or to see his sister cost over $9,000 in a month.
That is ridiculous! It is so good to have budget minded people to talk to and learn from – hoping that our sharing will be a big blessing for everyone. JRodgers
- April 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm #438878
@jrodgers 286050 wrote:
Re: Would “Parent Care” be a possible topic? Knowing where to find services & save
How many other people are caring for elderly parents? What are your biggest challenges? What do you need help with? What are little tricks and tips you have learned to use to make the process smoother?
There is actually already a forum for this Topic, it’s called Senior Savers and is located here:
- April 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm #438879
My hobbies are varied; I make and sell jewelry, sell books online, When I have a chance I take photographs or paint. My husband and I like to go to concerts in the park or dress up fancy and go to a play and dinner (If we’ve met our financial goals – its a reward of sorts)
My Kindle is packed with books, but I don’t have as much time to read as I did before -there’s always cloud storage 🙂 Love to spend time with the grandchildren 1:1.
Getting enough sleep is a challenge (especially flying between time zones once or twice a month). Keeping a positive perspective is sometimes difficult but my direct sales cosmetic business has really helped. I have the absolute best upline I swear I can feel so down and within minutes she has me cheered up and back on track.
She is a lifestyle coach and I am so grateful to her. She is helping me decrease weight and improve my health. It is so good to have a social outlet that also makes me talk and share with other women and I love training and sharing with my representative.
– that is really important for maintaining perspective
YOu are so right about hobbies keeping you young and refreshed!
- April 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm #438881
When I was in school for medical assisting, there were several families we helped out to babysit the elderly. it was nice because we were in school full time, and then had to work a 40 hour externship which was not paid. while babysitting we were able to stay overnight, or weekends.
I did a 48 hour weekend. I only made 250.00 but they bought all of my food. keep in mind this was 20 years ago.
my point being, try looking into schools that offer medical assisting. it gives the students a chance to be hands on with people and the students need flexible schedules. you might even be able to get an EMT from the local fire department to come and help out.
- April 12, 2013 at 3:42 am #438897
@jrodgers 286323 wrote:
One thing that we do agree on is a poa (power of attorney) for financial matters. my dad participates in his financial decisions and writes checks and makes decisions to the best of his ability on a day-to-day basis but my brother takes over for taxes and to make sure that bills do not go unpaid. we take a picture with our cell phone of any bills that arrive while we are here and send them to my brother via email, then we put the paperwork in a special folder.
if my brother needs to act on it sooner, rather than later he can pay the bill by printing out a copy of the picture) it also assures that we are reimbursed for travel expenses. my brother also has signing authority for dad’s bank accounts in the event of his death. this avoids frozen bank accounts when you need money to pay bills and burial expenses.
the second thing dad has is a durable power of attorney for health care which gives my brother the authority to make health care decisions for dad in the event that he is unable to make them. dad does not wish extraordinary measures to be undertaken in the event that he has no hope of a reasonable recovery.
the third legal document dad has is a simple wil (notarized)l naming my brother as executor,and dividing the estate into equal shares, so there are no arguments.
if you feel that your siblings may appear to see if there is an estate, you may want to investigate having similar documents drawn up. most hospitals now have the durable power of attorney for health care available on request.
how do you handle getting him to agree to go to the doctor?
i am the only child in his will — and he made that will when he was 72 years old — as a particular provision, he expressly wrote that each of my siblings and their heirs or spouses (all by name) are excluded.
I am co-signed on his house, so when he passes, the house automatically comes to me and stays out of probate.
I am joint on all of his bank accounts and beneficiary on his life insurance policies. I have the sole poa and mpoa for all decisions. my dad is also dnr (do not resuscitate).
dad paid for his headstone when my mom died, and his burial plot was bought for him by my grandparents back in the 1970’s — he has even picked out (and paid for) his own casket, and paid for the mass to be said — this way, it’s one less thing I will have to deal with while I am dealing through the grief that I will feel.
I wasn’t always close to my Dad — we used to butt heads all the time, but i turned out to be the only one he can depend on, and we are closer now.
dad gets all his medical care through the va in ann arbor — so it’s 100% free (except for his Rx, which set him back about $100 a month — he is diabetic and half paralyzed from several strokes)… when he isn’t feeling well, I take the day of work and school and physically drive him to the va to be seen … he doesn’t like it, but then i remind him that my mom would have done the same thing…and grudgingly he goes.
- April 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm #438905
Your dad is very lucky to have you.
- April 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm #438955
@Liss 286332 wrote:
There is actually already a forum for this Topic, it’s called Senior Savers and is located here:
Hi Liss, I noticed that after I had begun posting, and my profile says I can move threads, but I don’t know how. Can you direct me to a “how to move threads post” or tellme how, so I can get this under the correct category? Thank you!
- April 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm #439045
@jrodgers 286866 wrote:
Hi Liss, I noticed that after I had begun posting, and my profile says I can move threads, but I don’t know how. Can you direct me to a “how to move threads post” or tellme how, so I can get this under the correct category? Thank you! jrodgers
No worries, I got it 🙂 Your ability to move posts/threads is limited to your own, so I moved the entire conversation.
- April 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm #439145
A few years back we installed a computer cam in Dad’s office so we could see him and video chat with him everyday. Now that he has had the stroke, he isn’t able to use the computer as easily and may need assistance to get online. Lately he has been able to get online to manage his investment portfolio.
Reading online is difficult and time consuming even though he has a program that magnifies what his mouse point to.
I think a video monitor would be a great idea, if Dad would permit it to be installed. He may consider it an invasion of privacy and with the vision and hearing problems he often misinterprets things. Although sometimes he fakes it when he’s come up with a shocking interpretation that rhymes and asks me if that’s what I said – having a good sense of humor really helps!
Then he laughs and says he was just trying to see if I was listening! LOL
Wach day with our elders, however trying is a gift, for tomorrow they could be gone jrodgers
- April 25, 2013 at 12:22 am #439211
Thanks for the idea of where to find care. Medical assisting schools would be ideal and most schools have already done background checks on their folks before they start working with patients. Every so often we hit a few days when no one is able to come.
Dad just had a 4 day stint by himself and he did very well. He did work outside too much and got a bit dehydrated and disoriented, but he recognized that what he was saying did not make sense so he came inside, got a drink and rested. I am so grateful that Dad has recently regained his ability to self-reflect.
For over six months he had no ability in this area. It looks like his brain is continuing to heal. It would still be nice to have respite care just as a safety net from time to time.
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