Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesdays with Elders - Too Many Cooks

In sharing battle stories with others, the theme of Elder care causing disagreements between siblings crops up.

In my case, I was very lucky. The Brother had told me whatever decisions I made were fine with him, and he would support whatever decisions I made. He did say he wished there was something else that could have been done besides putting our parents in a nursing home. There are always other options.

I had asked him if he was willing to take both Ma and Dad into his home. Would he be willing to see that they got the round the clock care that was needed to keep them healthy and safe? I heard crickets. I didn't blame him. I wasn't willing to take that on either.

Would he be willing to find round the clock caregivers and services to keep the folks healthy and safe in their own home. The cost for in-home, 24 hour care is approximately $125,000 per year. If one of the caregivers became ill, had a family emergency, or couldn't get to the folks because of inclement weather, would he be willing to find substitute caregivers or go over and stay with the folks himself? Nope. I didn't blame him. With two girls in college our financial resources were tapped out.

We both wanted the best for the folks. We tried to abide by their wishes to keep them happy, but the primary concern was to keep them safe. Their happiness was secondary. They weren't safe in their own home. The only option left to us was nursing home care.

Some people mean well, but unless you have gone through the trial of Elder care, you have no clue what it's like. After Ma was in the nursing home, and Dad was still living in his house, some family and friends reprimanded me for not taking Dad to live in my home. As if being in my home would prevent Dad from wandering around town in the dead of night.

I feel if you aren't involved in the nitty gritty of personal care, housekeeping, chauffeuring to appointments, shopping, errands,outings, or daily/weekly visits, you really have no say in the decisions of the primary caregiver(s). As Dean from Supernatural so elegantly stated: Driver picks the music, and shotgun keeps his piehole shut.

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