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Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-20-2006, 06:26 PM   #1
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Help in caring for the elderly

This is an interesting Dallas Morning News story of a woman who spent 10 years caring for her elderly mother and FIL, then launched a company to be…

A one-stop caregiver for the elderly

[Janet Houston’s] two-month-old Dallas company, AssuraSource, can do everything from organizing a senior's bill-paying to finding a nursing home to developing a comprehensive care plan for a parent living alone.

Ms. Houston said she doesn't want others to go through what she did when she cared for her mother and her husband's father.

"I often didn't know where to turn for help," she said. "I just wanted somebody to step in and take charge."

"Families who come to us don't have to go any further," Ms. Houston said. "We help them determine what kinds of care they need, and then we provide it ourselves. Call it the soup-to-nuts approach to caregiving."

I was very impressed by the business this lady has launched…until this last quote:

Professional caregivers can also give family members the peace of mind to enjoy their time with their parents, Ms. Houston said.

"When you're with Mom, you don't want to worry about finding a plumber to fix her leaky roof."


Anyone see a problem here?
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-20-2006, 07:15 PM   #2
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

That should bring in the business.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-20-2006, 07:53 PM   #3
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
"When you're with Mom, you don't want to worry about [b]finding a plumber to fix her leaky roof."
Anyone see a problem here?
I've been doing it wrong all these years...
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-20-2006, 11:14 PM   #4
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

I worked on finding and fixing a leak in my roof off and on for over a year. I never even thought of calling in a plumber. I learn something new from this board every day.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-21-2006, 10:03 AM   #5
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Luckily for her, 95% of people won't notice that mistake. I didn't get it until I read it a few times.

I made a mistake like this once with this headline on a brochure that I used for my product:

Prevents Billable Time from Slipping Between the Cracks.

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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-21-2006, 12:04 PM   #6
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl

Prevents Billable Time from Slipping Between the Cracks.
OK...so the error was you should have said "Among the Cracks"?

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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-21-2006, 01:26 PM   #7
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Or "through the cracks."

Think of a redwood deck with cracks between the boards. The area between the cracks consists of the boards themselves. The area between cracks is not a crack.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-21-2006, 01:37 PM   #8
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Or "through the cracks."
When I responded I failed to include a smiley, resulting in my attempt at humor falling between among through the cracks.

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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 12:06 PM   #9
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

REWahoo:
Quote:
I was very impressed by the business this lady has launched…until this last quote:

"When you're with Mom, you don't want to worry about finding a plumber to fix her leaky roof."

Anyone see a problem here?
Hi Guys... Maybe I'm missing something* * but when I was taking care of my dying mom and dad (2 -1/2 years 24/7) I often didn't know what time it was (consistently interrupted sleep patterns + Mom* developed a penchant for living her life from midnight to 8 a.m...).

It was a real juggling act to get food in the house, get mom fed, to and from her chemo and radiation, clean up her port-a-pottie, change the sheets and do laundry, get her meds at the right time, clean the* house, deal with break-through pain, manage hospice appointments and so on... The emotional and physical exhaustion was accumulative.* :P

As my parents progressed closer to death, many physical items in the house (toilet, computer, car, drains, TV) also seemed to all-of-a-sudden break down.* *

I had my hands full. Fortunately, we were able to pull from resources such as Meals on Wheels, driving services, Hospice respite care, friends and family, but I must be honest and tell you, sometimes my biggest accomplishment of the day was getting my own shower and clean clothes on and making a coherent sentence to a visiting Hospice nurse.*

I consider myself to be an organized. energetic and positive person.* Fortunately for me, Billy was very understanding about this time period and what was important to me, and I didn’t have to work at a full time job.

Those caregivers who have children, husbands and jobs to attend to might appreciate having a list of services and phone numbers to call instead of spending yet another day off ignoring their own family and climbing onto the roof to repair it.

Emotions run high when loved ones are chronically ill, and nearing death. Power plays between siblings rise up, children feel neglected, spouses feel invisible.

Just because Janet Houston offers these services doesn’t mean she is automatically taking people’s money* in an inappropriate fashion or with ill intent.

Since I have no brothers (I know, I‘m a sexist piglett), I would have appreciated a recommended list of reputable services to call if I needed them.* I did ask brothers-in-law, ex-boyfriends and girlfriend’s husbands to help when needed, however… I threw my ego in the toilet and just plain asked for help.* 8)

This insight is simply given to you as fruit from my personal experience and with absolutely no malice intended..

To take a look at newspaper coverage of my mom’s story as printed in The Santa Cruz Metro, please click here: http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/betty.htm .

Both of my folks were inspirational to those who knew them.

I learned a lot and am grateful for the experience.* *

Best to you all, and in every way.

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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 01:02 PM   #10
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
finding a plumber to fix her leaky roof
... my parents suffered from a problem roof for years ... only to discover the hard way that the leak was indeed from a water pipe.* (when the pipe finally burst, it was clear that for those many years a slight dripping from an upstairs bathroom had been finding its way to the other side of the house which was but one story.)
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 01:55 PM   #11
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Billy:
Quote:
Emotions run high when loved ones are chronically ill, and nearing death. Power plays between siblings rise up, children feel neglected, spouses feel invisible.
Oh boy does that ring true.* My DS, who has seen Mother mabe 8 times in 8 years told nursing home staff that she, and my DB's X are planning Mom's 90th birthday party!!!

I don't mind DS paying for the party but if DB's X is comming DB thinks we should invite DS'x! Jeesh, issues like this we don't need.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 02:48 PM   #12
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

It's pretty common in my work to have a devoted family member who has been heavily involved in a loved one's care make sound and thoughtful decisions about important matters, such as resuscitation status, nursing home transfers, hospice. This often requires hours of discussions, family meetings with me and the social worker, etc.

Then a day or two before implementing, a sibling appears out of nowhere. Often they live very far away, have never been part of day to day care and barely visited. Perhaps in part out of guilt for their absence they attempt to stop everything, forcefully propose a change in plans.

Aside from not reflecting the patient's desires and best interest, such behavior permanently affects the relation with the siblings. My observation is that those closely involved with day to day care of the elderly are usually in the best position to make those decisions. I would defer to my sibling if I were the prodigal son unless something totally bizarre was going on.

In actuality it was the other way around, and my brother - to his credit - pretty much deferred to me because I was there. I did keep him closely involved by phone and tried hard to make him feel like he participated in the decisions. Maybe that's key.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 03:36 PM   #13
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
It's pretty common in my work to have a devoted family member who has been heavily involved in a loved one's care make sound and thoughtful decisions about important matters, such as resuscitation status, nursing home transfers, hospice. This often requires hours of discussions, family meetings with me and the social worker, etc.

Then a day or two before implementing, a sibling appears out of nowhere. Often they live very far away, have never been part of day to day care and barely visited. Perhaps in part out of guilt for their absence they attempt to stop everything, forcefully propose a change in plans.

Aside from not reflecting the patient's desires and best interest, such behavior permanently affects the relation with the siblings. My observation is that those closely involved with day to day care of the elderly are usually in the best position to make those decisions. I would defer to my sibling if I were the prodigal son unless something totally bizarre was going on.

In actuality it was the other way around, and my brother - to his credit - pretty much deferred to me because I was there. I did keep him closely involved by phone and tried hard to make him feel like he participated in the decisions. Maybe that's key.
Often the out-of-towner insists that 'everything must be done' to keep Grandma 'alive' which leads to all sorts of crap culminating in court appearances, with the medical personnel caught in the middle.

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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 03:58 PM   #14
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
Often the out-of-towner insists that 'everything must be done' to keep Grandma 'alive' which leads to all sorts of crap culminating in court appearances, with the medical personnel caught in the middle.
Yes, the DNR ("Do NOT Resuscitate") issue is often the flash point. Fill out your advanced directives, folks, and wallpaper your kitchen with copies thereof.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 05:29 PM   #15
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Then a day or two before implementing, a sibling appears out of nowhere. Often they live very far away, have never been part of day to day care and barely visited. Perhaps in part out of guilt for their absence they attempt to stop everything, forcefully propose a change in plans.
Our issue was my wife's sister who lives in California. She would fly in for a week at a time several months apart and "take over." Dad was always "fine" when she left since she cooked, cleaned, administered medicine and paid his bills. My wife was doing this full time for months. When my wife started to push for putting him in assisted living, she called and said "Dad just needs a little more help." When she couldn't convince us with all her wonderful longterm solutions, she started calling our children to convince us. She didn't want to "upset" or have him "do something he wasn't comfortable with." I told her I was going to put him on a plane and she could do whatever she wanted. She shut up after that.

I read postings here that people do this type of thing for years. That is beyond the pale in my opinion if there is any sort of financially acceptable option. The six months my wife fought this just about killed her. Of course, unwatched, my FIL would hop in his car and head off to parts unknown. He was fine and still is fine in his mind. When he lived at home, he expected to go and do everything he used to do.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 07:35 PM   #16
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Yes, we're continuing to go through this. My mom's registered with Hospice, and continuing to hang in there. We'll be going up again to be primary caregiver for two weeks in October. Thanks for the advice, Rich. I'll be careful not to make it a sea gull visit (fly in, make a lot of noise, crap on everything, and fly away).

So far things have gone smoothly among us siblings.

One source of tension/problems was avoided because she has almost no financial assets. The will (which she showed us) was thoughtless, and I'm sure that the lawyer that drew it up had never done a will before. For example, two of the siblings (me being one) weren't even mentioned. It's OK, because I made it clear to her that I didn't need or want any money. However, wouldn't you think that a lawyer knowledgeable with wills would say:

"Do you have any other children that you should mention?" or "How about a paragraph that says 'I love my children Al and Gail, but am not leaving them anything because they have told me that they have all that they need'"

A lot of other "No, that's not what I meant." when she read through the will. I don't think she really read it when she signed it.

Yes, this elder care is a real emotional mine field. Hopefully we can avoid the larger mines in this last part of the journey.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-24-2006, 07:48 PM   #17
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl


Yes, this elder care is a real emotional mine field.* Hopefully we can avoid the larger mines in this last part of the journey.
What is starting to worry me is that I might need elder care
myself before my folks complete their "journey".

JG
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 09-25-2006, 05:45 PM   #18
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._johngalt
What is starting to worry me is that I might need elder care
myself before my folks complete their "journey".*

JG
I've been told and have observed that there are a lot of caregivers that don't out live the caree.
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 10-21-2006, 09:16 AM   #19
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

Quote:
Then a day or two before implementing, a sibling appears out of nowhere. Often they live very far away, have never been part of day to day care and barely visited. Perhaps in part out of guilt for their absence they attempt to stop everything, forcefully propose a change in plans.

Aside from not reflecting the patient's desires and best interest, such behavior permanently affects the relation with the siblings. My observation is that those closely involved with day to day care of the elderly are usually in the best position to make those decisions.
I agree with this, and my experience reflects this as well. I think you're right on the money about the other sibling(s) feeling guilty about not being there - and I would also say that there is that need for control. Mom/Dad is dying, and the sibling has no control. So instead of getting involved in the day-to-day, or perhaps even talking to Mom/Dad to find out what they want, how they feel about what's going on, the sibling instead would rather muck up the already-agreed-upon plans.

It takes a good deal of effort to work this stuff out with thoughtless and absent siblings, if it ever gets worked out at all... :P

The lessons of Life and Love...

A friend of mine gave me good advice when I began all of this with my Folks. He told me "Remember, it's not about you, it's about your Mom/Dad." I took that advice to heart. It was wise counsel.

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Re: Help in caring for the elderly
Old 10-21-2006, 12:27 PM   #20
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Re: Help in caring for the elderly

So, Mom calls this morning. She heard a thud in the night (Dad sleeps
downstairs now as he has a hard time with the stairs. Mom is still
upstairs, but wears a "life alert" button. Anyway, Dad had fallen in the bathroom
(3 a.m.) and couldn't get up. He is over 200 lbs. and was wedged
in between the toilet and the wall. She covered him up and called 911.
They got him up and around. No harm done this time, although
this sort of "crisis" is a regular thing now. Lucky my brother and I are both nearby. No sibling troubles.

JG
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