Prepare for your aging parent release from a nursing facility or hospital discharge
At some point, many women (daughters) will be put in the difficult position of caring for their aging parent. Sometimes the evolution is gradual but it can literally be overnight when a senior experiences a fall or suffers a stroke.
This issue of “what now?” when dealing with an aging parent returning home after rehab or a hospital stay is going to be the subject of several blog postings as it really could fill an entire book. But, for this one, let’s just talk about some quick, practical matters to deal with the first few days once you bring your parent home.
Make the home accessible – Depending upon the mobility issues for your aging parent, it might not be possible to go up and down stairs. A bedroom might need to be set up on the first floor. If a bathroom is not accessible, you’ll need to bring in a commode. Grab bars should be installed and a wheel chair ramp might be required.
Check insurance coverage - Medicare will only cover 100 days in a nursing home. It will then only cover rehab or in-home nursing services that are deemed medically necessary. Additionally, if you will be hiring an in-home caregiver for your aging parent understand that hiring a service that works with Medicare will limit your selection of the provider. It’s important to check with your parent’s private insurance to understand what they will cover and find out whether they had long term care insurance.
Enlist support from community resources, friends and family – There will be well-meaning friends who will offer to help in any way they can with your aging parent – take them up on it! If you’re juggling work and kids as well as caring for your parent, you’ll make yourself sick and that won’t do anyone any good. Ask people to help out taking your parent to their follow-up doctor appointments, grocery shopping, washing clothes – anything that can help ease your burden. There are many senior service agencies in the local community who can help with transportation, meals on wheels and other needs. Also look into respite care, adult day care.
Set up lines of communications for emergencies – Even if you’re able to leave your parent alone for lengths of time, you want to have the ability to check in on them. Look into monitoring systems such as BeClose which will alert care givers if there is an emergency or even changes in daily activity such as not getting out of bed, not leaving the bathroom, etc. You also want to be sure that they have a way of communicating in an emergency. The VTech Careline phone system comes with a pendant they can wear around their neck or on their waist with two buttons pre-programmed phone numbers they can press in an emergency.
Have “the talk.” People don’t like to talk about death but now that there’s been one life threatening situation, make sure that you know their
wishes in regards to end of life decisions. Be sure they’ve established power of attorney for both financial/legal and health matters. Keep these letters with you in case of another emergency. Here’s a great site to understand the issues you need to address.
I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf VTech Communications, Inc. and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.