Over the past few years I found myself being pulled into a “job” I didn’t seek, didn’t really want and certainly wasn’t qualified for: that of caring for elderly parents.
I’m a babyboomer (born in 1946). Well actually, now I’m a Seniorboomer having reached the age of a Senior Citizen and early retirement. But unlike the ads that show retirement as: touring the country in an RV or taking a cruise to a tropical paradise, I’m taking elderly sick people to doctors’ offices, hospitals and nursing/rehab facilities.
It started a little over two years ago. After a few “incidents” that made it clear my parents shouldn’t be on their own.
My dad at 88 years of age was out shoveling snow around his car (like there was anywhere he HAD to go), fell and couldn’t get up. Luckily a neighbor happened to come home and helped him.
Then a few minor auto accidents that seemed to be his fault. Dad started having double vision caused by the muscles in one eye pulling the eye outward – so he couldn’t focus.
Mom needed daily insulin shots that neither of them were able to administer. The final clincher was when Mom fell and had a fractured pelvis requiring her to be in rehab for a several weeks.
As I already indicated, I was not anxious to take on this role, nor did my parents jump for joy at the thought of giving up driving and becoming dependent on me or others for things they’d always handled.
I tried futilely to find other services to help them. It seemed the type of service either didn’t exist, wasn’t in their area or was prohibitively expensive. So I took on the “job” – incorporating it into an already full schedule. Eventually I started to get burned out.
A better solution was arrived at – moving them (and later myself) from NJ to Texas where my brother and his family of grown children lived. More family members, the climate was better (no snow), the cost of living was better, and my parents were able to trade their old three story house for an almost new one story home in a gated community.
This didn’t completely solve the problems, there were medical issues that required constant monitoring. Since Mom was a diabetic, there were crises that necessitated calling the EMS and finally getting visiting nurses to come to the house daily.
As each new problem arose, I turned to the internet to research for solutions. Fortunately, there is a lot of information on the internet. I was able to find doctors, research symptoms/illnesses on Web MD, check out medications, products for the handicapped, home care agencies, etc.
I found two, indispensable items: a wheeled walker with a seat and a fold up transport chair that easily went into the trunk. Neither was very expensive, but both were lifesavers and worth every penny.
The medical issues worsened until it was necessary for someone to be with them all the time. We ‘took turns’, I got more turns since I had less other responsibilities by this time.
Even with the added number of people to join in the caregiving, at times it would get overwhelming, I started to write a BLOG called BabyBoomerAgingParents, to chronicle the events. It was therapeutic.
As I was doing further research, I came to realize that many other BabyBoomers are also going through the same or similar problems (or soon will be) and they could benefit from the information.