For eleven years I pleaded with my elderly father to allow a caregiver to help him with my ailing mother, but after 55 years of loving each other he adamantly insisted on taking care of her himself. Every caregiver I hired to help him sighed in exasperation, "Jacqueline, I just can’t work with your father–his temper is impossible to handle.
The mechanics of elder mediation are not much different than other types of mediation, except that both “sides” in these disputes are members of the same family. Parentgiving.com got an inside perspective from elder mediator William Van Twisk of Brunswick, Maine.
As baby boomers approach their own retirement age, very few thought they would become caregivers to parents well into their 80s and 90s. Their parents probably never wanted this for them to either; they’d much rather remain independent. Disputes can arise from these situations.
Whether your parent lives in their own home, in an assisted living facility, or with you, there’s nothing scarier than watching your mom or dad experience a major medical emergency. Often, the first time we realize that an aging parent needs our help is when we get a call from a hospital informing us that our loved one has been transported to the emergency room. Still, there are ways to ensure that both you and your aging parent are prepared in the event of a medical emergency.
As our parents age, many of us prepare for medical emergencies by making lists of mom and dad’s vital information, including prescription and over-the-counter medication, medical conditions and physician contact information. Many of us also age-proof our parents’ homes by making minor modifications to ensure their physical safety.
In a study conducted by George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., researchers found that nationally visits to emergency rooms by the elderly have increased more than 34% in the last decade. Although it is unclear exactly why visits by the elderly have increased, the study surmises that the increase may be due to “older people surviving with chronic medical issues, as well as problems the elderly are experiencing accessing primary care doctors.”
Many older family members may have special needs that develop as a result of a health condition for which they have been hospitalized. Some older individuals need daily care after being discharged from the hospital. Families and caregivers need to be aware of these issues and prepared to provide coordinated care for their loved one after he or she leaves the hospital.
After Carol M.‘s mom broke her hip in a car accident, Carol tried setting up live-in home care, only to find it costly and isolating for Mom and burdensome for Carol, who still found herself stopping in every day to do tasks the home health aide could not do. With Mom’s consent, Carol located an assisted living facility that would provide meals, help with medications and allow Mom to be among friends and socialize.
Patient advocates agree preparation is the key. The time to make sure you or your aging parent has all of the necessary documentation for a hospital stay is before an ambulance arrives for an injury or worse. Be sure your parent has a fully written or typed medical history that you can hand to the emergency physician taking care of the case. It needs to include all medications, the names and contact information for your parent’s primary doctor and any specialists being seen, any recent diagnostic tests that may have been done, and other relevant contact information.
For patients who have suffered an injury, illness or exacerbation of a disease, subacute nursing home care can offer a money-saving alternative to in-hospital care. Subacute care differs from that of a traditional nursing facility in that it provides more intensive care to the patient until the condition is stabilized.
Seniors face many challenges as they age and may need more intensive rehabilitation care, especially after suffering injuries from a fall, a stroke or a cardiovascular event. The length of time spent in a senior rehab program can greatly improve the senior’s health, and allow him or her to maintain independence and get back to the normal routine much quicker following an event.