Serving seniors is a jump in with both feet enterprise. Often times we are jumping before we look. We are finding many of the families we serve at the exact moment of total melt down. We are meeting families freshly out of a rehab facility. Sometimes the families we serve have just made the decision to abandon curative measures. Family members have flown in from cities far and wide to have this all important family meeting. There is a new status quo and it is completely unchartered water.
As we endeavor to serve your family, we don’t demand that the water be warm. We won’t even ask you to clean up the house. Sometimes there’s coffee shared, but other times there are wounds fresh enough to yet need stitches. We have walked into homes where someone was suffering with gangrenous sores, degenerative diseases that have progressed so that the care recipient is largely unaware of the gathering he or she is hosting. Some families have exhausted all family care resources by the time they’ve called us, simply because they know how incredibly difficult the next stages of dementia may be on them.
We are often meeting families at a time they might refer to as a lifetime low. At times like this, it is not uncommon for family members to warn us about how incredibly mean their parent is, or how they will fear for our team’s safety upon entering their Mom or Dad’s home.
A POA may be present. Trusted family advisors come out of the woodwork to add their insights and prove their value. Friendly concerned neighbors may have called us in. Attorneys or Ombudsman may arrive. A long lost family member who has begrudgingly arrived in order to bury the hatchet may have returned home for the first time in years.
Prayers are shared, tears are shed. It may be the worst time in the history of the family, but it may also be a time in which courageous measures are being taken. Family members are stepping up to the plate. Concessions are finally being made. The truth is coming out about how bad things may have gotten. How far Alzheimers has progressed. How difficult it is on Mom now that Dad can’t stand on his own.
Further courage will be relied upon in order to successfully navigate an uncertain future. Brand new critical members to the team will be coming aboard. New areas of expertise will be sought. There will be new books to read. Breakthroughs. Setbacks. The ‘healthier’ of the aging parents may suddenly and unexpectedly decline first. The family ‘rock’ may chip away.
This is the temperature of the water. These are often known to be the harshest times. Don’t be surprised when the dreaded “Death, and Taxes” becomes: “Death, Taxes & Caring for Mom & Dad”.
Here’s the good news. At Always There Home Care, we have been down this very road. We have successfully navigated the stormiest of waters with hundreds of families. We know how to create positive outcomes. We know how to balance a contributing family caregiver’s efforts with our own. We can start with those difficult evening hours, or we can start by doing the actual “heavy lifting.”
Starting wherever you are and finding a pathway and a care plan to take the first few steps is our first measure. Balancing tastes, diet restrictions, strengths, deficiencies and understanding a unique disease course, and how to help along the way is another measure. As we gain knowledge and build a relationship between your loved one and our team member, we gain further ground. We are the listening ears. We get to hear what hurts, what tastes good, what stings, what is on tv, where the dog likes to sit, how the Buckeyes did this weekend…We hear the unfiltered stuff that Mom and Dad may not say around family.
We may heed the call that leads to our advice that brings in a wheelchair, a walker, or even a skilled therapist. On numerous occasions, we have made a pre-evaluation of hospice eligibility and have started conversations about bringing in Hospice Care.
Often, once these measures have started, we will hear the Hospice team say things like: “Wow, you guys are the icing on the cake!”, to which we often reply: “No, we are the cake!”
Ben Smith is the Founder, President and C.C.I.C. at Always There Home Care. He enjoys being a part of the cake of care we bake uniquely for each family we serve. “Your Home. Your Rules. Our Care.” is our motto and our mission. To enable the seniors and the families we serve to remain at home with dignity and in the way of their choosing, each and every day of their lives. Call Always There Home Care’s 24-Hour Home Care Hotline (614) HOME-CARE 466-3227 to schedule a meeting with Ben and start a plan of care that can help you take your first steps toward advocacy for your senior loved one.