Making Tough Decisions

Spotlight on the family caregiver:
Many family members become “caregivers” to an elderly loved one in their family.  While your parent may not be living with you, you may be providing the ongoing emotional support, grocery shopping, scheduling doctors appointments and driving your parent if they can no longer do so.  Finding appropriate resources and health care professionals may be time consuming.  Work or family obligations may make it increasingly difficult to be there for your parent in the way you want to, adding additional stress that you may not anticipate.
If you live in the same town as your elderly parent, you may have notice subtle or sudden changes in them, but what if you live long distance? Seeing  a family member may during a holiday or planned visit may reveal shocking changes that are impossible to detect by a long distance phone call.
Troubling signs of slipping independence:
  • Unpaid bills
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
  • Signs of hoarding
  • Signs of depression
  • Noticeable Bruises which may indicate falls
  • Weight loss
  • Mood changes
  • Missed doctor appointments
  • Confusion/ Forgetfulness
  • Limited mobility
Should I allow my parent to live with me?
While many well meaning sons and daughters try to reciprocate the care the received as a young child by being a family caregiver, this  arrangement often puts additional strain on a marital relationship and may interfere with child care responsibilities.
  • Is my home appropriate in terms of safety for my loved one?
     A home that can accommodate younger family members may not be a safe environment for an elderly person especially with medical issues and or dementia.
  • Are my family members who live with me in agreement about my decision to have a loved one live with us? Ironing out specific roles/boundaries are important to minimize family conflict
  • Who do I hire to care for my loved one if I cannot? Knowing what level of care your parent needs and what type of caregiver would be appropriate is an important decision that needs to be made carefully.