I’ve run into a very interesting blog site associated with the New York Times. “The New Old Age: Caring and Coping” (click here). Frankly, it looks like the kind of conversation I’m hoping people will eventually have on sunshiners.ca! Meanwhile, I think it’s a good resource.
UPDATE July 9, 2011: Paula Span, frequent contributor to “The New Old Age” posted a wonderful blog June 29 here. Paula is an author and journalist teacher at Columbia University, who as it happens attended my recent presentation in New York City.
The June 29 blog involves a no-win situation that comes up often for relatives of frail elderly people: what are the limits of advocacy? So much of this has to do with your personality, and that of the people you’re dealing with: facility staff, nurses, doctors, etc. There is a danger that a completely legitimate and reasonable sense of responsibility (fueled at times by some strident stuff in the media) will blow you off your accustomed smooth, charming, and reasonable way of dealing with the world just to get the very best for your loved one.
Like so very many other things in life, you really need your best human instincts fully deployed when you wade into advocacy. Good luck.
Finding the right home care provider is a difficult proposition because the care of your parent is of paramount importance. There are many companies that provide caregivers for this purpose. You will give them a list of your needs and they will attempt to provide you with a list of people who will fill your needs.
The next step is the interview process. Before you actually meet the people you are going to interview, make a list of questions you want to ask. Talk with your parent and make sure that he/she feels a part of the process. Remember this caregiver is going to be a part of your parent’s life from now on. Residential home care providers become roommates who also take care of your parent’s normal, everyday needs and health care needs.
During the interview process, you will try to develop a relationship with the caregivers. Try to see them taking care of your parent. Try to envision this caregiver at your family gatherings. Try to get a feel for this person’s integrity and personality. You should ask your questions while at the same time trying to learn about the caregiver.