Monday, September 14, 2009

Caring for Parents or “Elder Care”

Caring for Parents is something every one of us will eventually do. There are times where ‘broken’ relationships exist – like, when the nest ‘emptied’ out meant that all feelings of co-responsibility, and interactions ceased as well. However, by in large, that is not the case. Almost every adult – “baby boomer”  – will sooner or later take part in making decisions for their Father and/or Mother.

Elder Care is not in any way shape or form something to dread, be apprehensive about or resist. With the right knowledge, communication and support system this time of a person’s life will without a doubt be one of the most rewarding experiences ever! Know that you will participate in every emotion imaginable during this time – expect tears, laughter, anger, and even exasperation, but woven all through should be LOVE!

The best scenario by far is when there is open communication and acceptance on the part of everyone. Know what your responsibilities will be, delegate who will take care of what, and plan for this inevitable passage through life.

Some absolutes –

  1. Make absolutely sure “power of attorney” is decided early on – so, that in the event of stroke or sudden illness or accident, you can be assured of your voice being heard.
  2. If a DNR (do not resuscitate) is desired, then legality of that form needs to be taken care of and then the form is to be displayed in the home or hospital room.
  3. There should absolutely be a Living Will gone over by everyone involved.

Dignity should be a priority – even when you don’t see any signs of cognizance on the part of your parent – because if dignity is not maintained then guilt will be your conclusion to this story. You are the advocate here – you are their voice, so, let them be heard. Make sure their wishes are kept, that they are treated with the utmost respect If that means moving them from one facility to another or changing their physicians completely then take care of it.

Rejoice that you have parents to care for during this inescapable time of life. Remember to experience the joys of memories, stories, and bring to mind often the times of laughter and happy moments lived through together. When the time comes where they no longer recall those memories or maybe even, you – then trust yourself to ‘go with the flow’ – if that means ‘visiting’ with them in their childhood, then that’s what that day brings. Live where they are for the moment and understand that this is an okay place to be. By and by it may be only in our hearts where those other special times will live but thank God they existed at all.

That’s it for now – more to come on specifics. I will be sharing info on some great forums and resources along the way. In the meantime to get you started on some good research check out A Place for Mom.

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