My inbox is filled with emails from caregivers trying to figure out how to pay for their parents’ care. They’re facing complicated and hard choices.
The big choices? Whether they should quit their job, move a parent into their home to avoid expensive care, or pay for care and risk running out of money. Or some combination of any or all of these.
That’s a really crappy set of choices.
We all agree that, regardless of your financial situation, it’s hard to be a caregiver… But, the truth is that it’s really scary to be a caregiver when you or your parents don’t have much money to pay for care….
Most of us take for granted that we can get out of bed in the morning and do all the things necessary to head out and face our day. You know… the simple everyday things like moving around our house, showering, getting dressed and eating breakfast. I might be a little foggy most mornings but I don’t think about whether I’ll face an enormous challenge in measuring out the coffee or pouring the milk. The point is the routine is just that…routine.
But if your parent is frail, you know that there’s nothing routine about these activities — that for them, doing even the simplest things just can’t be taken for granted anymore.
The mobility and functioning that’s essential to independence and safety suddenly becomes a big effort. And, Daughterhood really happens when we have to get involved in helping our parents do the things that they can no longer do by themselves. This is when their lives and ours get hard.
I love hearing from readers. Sometimes they write to tell me that a particular blog has helped them and that makes me very happy.
But a lot of the time, they tell me about problems that aren’t easily solved and ask questions that aren’t easily answered. Here’s one I get in many different variations that breaks my heart.
“My mom has some income from social security and less than $10,000 in savings. I’ve got a full time job I need to keep. Mom was doing fine until recently – but now she’s in and out of the hospital and having trouble taking care of herself. My sister and I are worried and wondering what we do next.”
The vast majority of frail older adults live at home — not in independent or assisted living and not in nursing homes. So, If you’re managing your parents’ care, sooner or later you’ll come up against the question of whether you should get them more help at home and how to go about it.
Hiring someone to help your parents can be expensive and awkward. It’s often hard to get your parents to accept a paid caregiver into their home and even harder to find a person you can trust. But, at the same time, it feels like doing so is the only way you can keep your parents where they are.
And, keeping them at home very often feels like the least heartbreaking way to proceed.
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself
About two months after my husband moved out, I noticed an awful smell coming from somewhere in the kitchen. I spent a whole week trying to locate the source. My kitchen cabinets have never been so clean. Naturally, all it took was getting half a dozen nine year old boys over for a birthday party to find eight dead baby possums right outside my kitchen window.