Further Adventures of the Geriatric-Doctor-in-Law 3

We are now many months into the bold experiment of looking after Robin’s frail parents in their Roberts Creek home. Avid readers will recall our success at getting Nigel out of a nursing home and Liz out of the acute care hospital. Here’s an update.

Short story: everything is fantastic. We have two wonderfully kind and effective home-support ladies who together cover 24 hours seven days a week. There is a friend of one of them who takes casual shifts if for any reason somebody can’t show up.  This arrangement removes the big stress of having to spend nights with Liz and Nigel ourselves, because we couldn’t afford the previous arrangement through an agency. Once a week we bring them both over next door to our place for dinner. And even with the absolutely dreadful late-spring weather we’ve been having, they are getting out on the patio and into the small back-yard space.

Downside: nothing, really, at the moment that wouldn’t be expected.  The physical care is significant and there have been a couple of falls. The other day Robin and I both had to help get Nigel out of the bathtub when he slipped off the  electric lift. Not sure what the caregiver would have done if there hadn’t been anybody around… And occasionally things are psychologically less than ideal: minor conflicts, unreasonable demands based on a dementia view of the world, and so on. Liz’s Clostridium Difficile bowel trouble is back, a legacy of the hospital admission, which is resisting conventional treatment. We are chasing down some advice on that.

Longer story: of course we have no idea. There are bound to be logistic, health, psychological, maybe financial, and social issues that are unpredictable and may be hard to deal with.  One thing for sure, this summer honeymoon won’t go on forever. But we’re ready to cross various difficult bridges when we come to them, in the meantime enjoying the success day by day .

Here are a couple more photos to illustrate that frailty doesn’t always have to be horrifying. Sunshiners!

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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1 Response to Further Adventures of the Geriatric-Doctor-in-Law 3

  1. M. Rille says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal life. It is a fantastic way to promote great elder care, by sharing real stories and resources together. I always find your posts inspirational.

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