Communication is Key
If you and your aging parent do not talk candidly about future care needs, you’re setting yourself up for problems. As your parent gets older and home care becomes necessary, it’s always best to have discussed worse case scenarios in advance. As one family found out, the lack of advanced planning can lead to stressful decision making.
When a Spouse Dies Unexpectedly
In the family’s case, their dad has Alzheimer’s. Their mom was very active and handled daily care of their dad without a problem. In fact, she seemed to thrive on caring for the man she’d loved for so many decades. One day, they got a call that an ambulance had been dispatched to their house and that their mom had a stroke. Someone needed to get there immediately to be with their dad who was confused and scared.
Days later, the family was hopeful their mom would recover, but aspiration pneumonia set in. It didn’t look good. Within a week, end-of-life care was recommended as their mom couldn’t survive without a respirator, she couldn’t eat without a feeding tube, and her medical directives stated no drastic measures were to be taken if she didn’t have any hope of returning to a normal life.
Grief and Planning Don’t Mix
Now, the family was trying to grieve the loss of their mom, but social workers at their dad’s memory care practice said he had to be the primary concern. He refused to consider elder care services and insisted he could live on his own without what he called “babysitters”. His agitation led to family disputes over what happened next. Some siblings wanted him to stay at home and suggested other family members quit their lower-paying jobs in order to be a caregiver. Other family members said they couldn’t shoulder the responsibility of raising their own families and also balancing care for their dad.
Stress levels continued to increase. Meanwhile, decisions on their dad’s care were still being researched rather than decided on. Had the family sat down and discussed this with both parents when Alzheimer’s was diagnosed, a plan would already be in place.
A family never knows when tragedy may strike. Having a plan for elder care laid out in case the worst case scenario does happen is smart. This family wishes they hadn’t assumed since their mom seemed healthy that nothing needed to be addressed. They still struggle with how to arrange elder care that their dad will accept and not fight them on. Call an elder care agency today to discuss what to consider for future care needs.