Too Much Time on Her Hands

This is what has happened to mom since being in the care facility recovering and retraining from her broken femur.  So far she has been in for 59 days and we just found out that she may be in for a total of 98-100 days by the time they do all the actual “walking therapy.”  She has been under 30 days of no weight at all (bed rest), then another 30 days of being able to transfer herself to a chair or wheel chair but still no weight bearing on her leg because the break happened less than 1-1/2″ above her knee, which has been replace twice now.  Just yesterday she was approved to begin the weight bearing as tolerable and today she called in amazement that, she walked all of twenty feet but she walked.  This brings to point, what do you do with your time when you can not get out of bed for a month and then only minimally for the second month?  Well mom mom found out they have a library which is actually a library book cart and she has spent her time reading everything on it including the authors she does not like and books shes already read before. Library Book Cart      Recently I visited mom and as I walked into her room she sprung up with joy and started into, “Richard, I have a book for you.  Oh, where did I put that thing, its here somewhere.”  Then she found it, right on top of her stack of eight books that she read over the past three days.  There it was a “Readers Digest, September 2011” with, Give to Richard inked on the cover.  She has page 160 bookmarked with a pink piece of paper.  The article she saved for me to read, “The Quite Crisis by Jim Scott.”  More importantly at the end of the story the author adds, “The Caregiver’s Survival Guide.”  To not lose anything in trying to interpret what he’s written, I am going to rewrite it in its entirety.

Jim Scott’s, “The Caretakers Survival Guide”

“The caregiver’s learning curve is typically long and hard, says Jim Scott, cofounder and editor in chief of caring.com.  “Most people eventually figure it out – after a lot of hard knocks, unnecessary mistakes, and missed opportunities for help,” he says.  Here is his Reader’s Digest Version of the mistakes that hurt and the steps that help most.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  • Denying it “People avoid acknowledging a problem like Alzheimer’s disease in a family member as long as possible – chalking it up to a bad day or to normal aging is much easier.  But waiting only makes it harder for everyone involved.”
  • Going it alone “You may think you’re the only one who can do the caregiving, or you re not aware of the resources that are out there.  Or maybe you think help is too expensive or too hard to find.  But your health will suffer, your relationships will suffer.  And ultimately, the caregiving itself will suffer.”
  • Getting into a power struggle “Your loved one is trying to maintain control in a stage of life that’s about losing it.  Attempting to take away decision making too early or in a way that feels threatening can lead to huge blowups.”
  • Blaming the person instead of the disease “People with dementia repeat themselves.  They forget to turn off the stove.  They put the remote control in the garbage.  They miss the toilet when urinating.  Understanding that it’s the disease, not the person, makes it easier to manage the symptoms.  You can be much more effective that way.”

WHAT HELPS

  • Becoming aware of your loved one’s finances “Con artists know that in dementia, a person’s finances can be one of the first things to fall apart.  What are the signs that you should step in?  Anything that points to a problem with complex, multistep thinking.  Say your mom is a great cook.  If all of  sudden she can’t follow a recipe, she probably can’t balance her checkbook.”  Get her on a do-not call list, advises Scott.  And ask if you can have monitoring access to her account.  Or try a joint checking account, where you can sign checks and pay bills.  (You’d be responsible for the account and get the money at her death.)  “It’s worth talking to a financial adviser or an attorney about these an other options,” Scott says.
  • Getting the key documents ready “It’s important to get  durable power of attorney for health care, and an advance health directive in place early because once your parent loses the ability to weigh in, you have to go the much more complex and expensive route of conservatorship, which requires a lawyer.  You want your parents to weigh in .  Having them make the decisions means you wont have to.”
  • Educating yourself on the basics about their disease “Knowing what’s ahead allows you to prepare , and that eases anxieties,” says Scott.  Talk to other caregivers, either in old-fashioned support groups or in on-line virtual ones.
  • Building your support network “If your brother lives 3,000 miles away, put him in charge of the finances. Find out who in the church will help.Get adult daycare services going so you get a break.  Most people think they can’t afford in-home care, but there are low-cost ways to go, from high school volunteers to senior-to-senior programs.
  • Considering assisted living facilities “People sometimes feel that they promised a parent they’d never put them into assisted living, but many of these facilities are great places to be.  It’s important to get on the list early because it can take a while for an opening.” (Caring.com’s Senior Living Directory include reviews of facilities at caring.com/local.)

4 HELPFUL RESOURCES

  • Area Agency on Aging Every region in the United States offers counselors who are aware of local resources for the elderly.  Go to aoa.gov and search for AAA finder to locate  counselor in your area. FREE
  • SHIP The State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides help with questions about or problems with Medicare plans and policies. FREE
  • Geriatric-care manager A GCM can do an in-home evaluation, help find an assisted-living facility, and take on other aspects of a parent’s care.  They’re especially good in a crisis and when you live far away.  Go to caremanager.org to find a GCM in your area.  Expect to pay $75 to $250 an hour (some government agencies and charities offer some GCM services on a sliding scale). VARIES
  • Elder Companion These are typically caring people who stay with your loved one while you run errands or take a break.  You can find one through a home health agency or  local AAA or at caring.com/local/in-home-care. INEXPENSIVE

If you get a chance and canlocate the September 2011, Readers Digest I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read Jim Scott’s, “The Quite Crisis,” it is a wonderful read and very well may make you bubble up.  The above “Survival Guide” of course can change from caree to caree and with the various medical issue involved.  I do highly suggest finding an elder companion, respite sitter, to stay with your loved one, to give yourself a quick break, to run errands, go grocery shopping, really for anything that needs to get done or for just some personal down time.  For groceries look into the delivery services where you place your order in the internet and they and then delivered right to your doorstep in the next day or two.  Now this is only offered by some of the large grocery stores.  I’m interested in what you feel should be in a Caregivers Survival Bag (G

This is what has happened to mom since being in the care facility recovering and retraining from her broken femur.  So far she has been in for 59 days and we just found out that she may be in for a total of 98-100 days by the time they do all the actual “walking therapy.”  She has been under 30 days of no weight at all (bed rest), then another 30 days of being able to transfer herself to a chair or wheel chair but still no weight bearing on her leg because the break happened less than 1-1/2″ above her knee, which has been replace twice now.  Just yesterday she was approved to begin the weight bearing as tolerable and today she called in amazement that, she walked all of twenty feet but she walked.  This brings to point, what do you do with your time when you can not get out of bed for a month and then only minimally for the second month?  Well mom mom found out they have a library which is actually a library book cart and she has spent her time reading everything on it including the authors she does not like and books shes already read before.Library Book Cart      Recently I visited mom and as I walked into her room she sprung up with joy and started into, “Richard, I have a book for you.  Oh, where did I put that thing, its here somewhere.”  Then she found it, right on top of her stack of eight books that she read over the past three days.  There it was a “Readers Digest, September 2011” with, Give to Richard inked on the cover.  She has page 160 bookmarked with a pink piece of paper.  The article she saved for me to read, “The Quite Crisis by Jim Scott.”  More importantly at the end of the story the author adds, “The Caregiver’s Survival Guide.”  To not lose anything in trying to interpret what he’s written, I am going to rewrite it in its entirety.

Jim Scott’s, “The Caretakers Survival Guide”

“The caregiver’s learning curve is typically long and hard, says Jim Scott, cofounder and editor in chief of caring.com.  “Most people eventually figure it out – after a lot of hard knocks, unnecessary mistakes, and missed opportunities for help,” he says.  Here is his Reader’s Digest Version of the mistakes that hurt and the steps that help most.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  • Denying it “People avoid acknowledging a problem like Alzheimer’s disease in a family member as long as possible – chalking it up to a bad day or to normal aging is much easier.  But waiting only makes it harder for everyone involved.”
  • Going it alone “You may think you’re the only one who can do the caregiving, or you re not aware of the resources that are out there.  Or maybe you think help is too expensive or too hard to find.  But your health will suffer, your relationships will suffer.  And ultimately, the caregiving itself will suffer.”
  • Getting into a power struggle “Your loved one is trying to maintain control in a stage of life that’s about losing it.  Attempting to take away decision making too early or in a way that feels threatening can lead to huge blowups.”
  • Blaming the person instead of the disease “People with dementia repeat themselves.  They forget to turn off the stove.  They put the remote control in the garbage.  They miss the toilet when urinating.  Understanding that it’s the disease, not the person, makes it easier to manage the symptoms.  You can be much more effective that way.”

WHAT HELPS

  • Becoming aware of your loved one’s finances “Con artists know that in dementia, a person’s finances can be one of the first things to fall apart.  What are the signs that you should step in?  Anything that points to a problem with complex, multistep thinking.  Say your mom is a great cook.  If all of  sudden she can’t follow a recipe, she probably can’t balance her checkbook.”  Get her on a do-not call list, advises Scott.  And ask if you can have monitoring access to her account.  Or try a joint checking account, where you can sign checks and pay bills.  (You’d be responsible for the account and get the money at her death.)  “It’s worth talking to a financial adviser or an attorney about these an other options,” Scott says.
  • Getting the key documents ready “It’s important to get  durable power of attorney for health care, and an advance health directive in place early because once your parent loses the ability to weigh in, you have to go the much more complex and expensive route of conservatorship, which requires a lawyer.  You want your parents to weigh in .  Having them make the decisions means you wont have to.”
  • Educating yourself on the basics about their disease “Knowing what’s ahead allows you to prepare , and that eases anxieties,” says Scott.  Talk to other caregivers, either in old-fashioned support groups or in on-line virtual ones.
  • Building your support network “If your brother lives 3,000 miles away, put him in charge of the finances. Find out who in the church will help.Get adult daycare services going so you get a break.  Most people think they can’t afford in-home care, but there are low-cost ways to go, from high school volunteers to senior-to-senior programs.
  • Considering assisted living facilities “People sometimes feel that they promised a parent they’d never put them into assisted living, but many of these facilities are great places to be.  It’s important to get on the list early because it can take a while for an opening.” (Caring.com’s Senior Living Directory include reviews of facilities at caring.com/local.)

4 HELPFUL RESOURCES

  • Area Agency on Aging Every region in the United States offers counselors who are aware of local resources for the elderly.  Go to aoa.gov and search for AAA finder to locate  counselor in your area. FREE
  • SHIP The State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides help with questions about or problems with Medicare plans and policies. FREE
  • Geriatric-care manager A GCM can do an in-home evaluation, help find an assisted-living facility, and take on other aspects of a parent’s care.  They’re especially good in a crisis and when you live far away.  Go to caremanager.org to find a GCM in your area.  Expect to pay $75 to $250 an hour (some government agencies and charities offer some GCM services on a sliding scale). VARIES
  • Elder Companion These are typically caring people who stay with your loved one while you run errands or take a break.  You can find one through a home health agency or  local AAA or at caring.com/local/in-home-care. INEXPENSIVE

If you get a chance and can locate the September 2011, Readers Digest I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read Jim Scott’s, “The Quite Crisis,” it is a wonderful read and very well may make you bubble up.  The above “Survival Guide” of course can change from caree to caree and with the various medical issue involved.  I do highly suggest finding an elder companion, respite sitter, to stay with your loved one, to give yourself a quick break, to run errands, go grocery shopping, really for anything that needs to get done or for just some personal down time.  For groceries look into the delivery services where you place your order in the internet and they and then delivered right to your doorstep in the next day or two.  Now this is only offered by some of the large grocery stores.  I’m interested in what you feel should be in a Caregivers Survival Bag (GSB), please let us know what’s in your GSB  that’s not listed here.  Keep a smile on your face, it makes people wonder what your up to, take care.  Smiley Face

– Richard (@kreisr1)

SB), please let us know what’s in your GSB  that’s not listed here.  Keep a smile on your face, it makes people wonder what your up to, take care.  Smiley Face

– Richard (@kreisr1)

 

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