Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Primary Caregiver Gives Tips on Preparing a Trip Away From Aging Parent

Ginger, the primary family caregiver (for years), helping her dad age 100 to remain in his home of 60+ years - overseeing his care. But being the primary caregiver, she put her dreams of traveling on hold for some time because she did not want to leave him. Although doctors reassured Ginger that his health is good and no need to worry, she remained loyal to her role.

But after several years of juggling her heart's desire ...stay... go... stay... go , Ginger decides to go for it.

We talked about the structure she put in place of her absence, which seems very reasonable to me, there's always that element of surprise that can bite you when you're not looking!

Ginger's story... Click here to listen...

Before leaving the country Ginger did the following:

  • 1. Asked her two adult children to step into the role of primary caregiver and moved the youngest (adult child) son (35) into her dad's home part time to oversee his safety and well being.
  • 2. Hired a Geriatric Case manager to visit the elder several times a week to insure quality care.
  • 3. Requested Call Doctor (Home Medicine Care) to visit him once weekly to check on vitals.
  • 4. Put her oldest sibling (out of town) on notice that she would be gone for two months and if he would please help her adult children. He agreed.
As life would have it, a curve ball is thrown while Ginger's in Italy. Her son, living at his grandfather's takes ill and decides to move back to his house for a day or two just so his grandfather doesn't catch the cold he has developed.

The next morning, the grandson stops by for a quick "check-in" but finds his grandfather has fallen and is on the floor. He places a call to the Call Doctor but they don't make home visits on the weekend so he dials 911 and off to emergency hospital they go. While in the hospital, the emergency staff discovers the elder has peumonia and into ICU he goes.

By this time, Ginger's daughter steps in because her brother isn't feeling well. Unfortunately, the daughter sends a frantic email to her mom, Ginger, because the elder's health is failing. The only form of communication was email. In that message, Ginger reads her father has fallen, went to emergency, and now dying of peumonia. Well, needless to say, Ginger is an emotional wreck.

In less than 24 hours later it was determined that her dad was not dying and that he is back on his feet and going home.

What did Ginger learn from this experience? She would like to share..

1. If you are sending someone a message being email or voice mail, keep the message as benign as possible. Do not inject highly emotional verbiage and frustration. This will only make matters worse for the receiver. Give all details and keep them simple. Do not exaggerate the condition or accident. When a person is close to a highly charged situation like this, it is necessary to step back and take a few minutes to breath and gather your thoughts. Remember, the person you're sending the message to is far, far, away and cannot quickly return home. So, please equalize the emotion.

2. Buy a long distance phone card. Don't leave home without it. There are many on the market that can be used in another country. This gives the traveling family member a tie home. If you don't know where to purchase one, please call your travel agent.

3. Back up your back up. Even though Ginger deployed her son, daughter, and brother to help oversee her father's care... life threw that curve. Her son got sick, her brother had to travel for business, so that left her daughter to carry the full responsibility. It's tough to be the only family member handling an emergency! Hind sight tells Ginger, it's best to have more back up. A friend, neighbor, etc.

For those of you family caregivers getting ready to vacation, please know that you must think through the details of "what ifs" scenarios. We hope this story gives some help and insight for preparation.

What about you? Care to share with us your personally designed travel strategy for caring while out of the country. We would love to hear your story too. Just post a comment below.

Tune in again for more tips on the traveling primary caregiver from senior care experts!

If you live away from your aging parents and need local help in Texas, email me

My best.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Looking for Local Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio Senior Services for Aging Parent?

Are you an adult child of aging parents and you're working full-time, juggling your immediate family's schedule, balancing a personal life, and helping mom & dad? Are you living at a distance from your aging relative? If the answer is "Yes, who isn't?" Then you may need my senior referral help finding local senior services for you aging parent(s) or relative. It's no cost to you.. all we need is the following information from you - Get Local Help for Senior Now.

Our senior care network serves the Greater Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio for family caregivers like you. If your aging parent or relative lives in Texas or outside of Texas, I can help you locate the following:

  • House Call Medicine
  • Senior In-Home Care (Non-Medical - Companion, Light House Keeping, Cooking, Daily Living)
  • Senior Home Health Care (Skilled Nursing - RN's and LVN's, Certified Nurse Aides, Medical Social Workers, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, and Certified Dietician)
  • Geriatric Case Managers
  • Assisted Living Options
  • Home Remodelers
  • Reverse Mortgage
  • Financial Services
  • Home Maintenance
  • Personal Services
  • Transportation
  • Delivery
It's extremely difficult to help an aging relative from any distance, across town or across the country. In truth, in takes time and energy to research for senior services. It all comes down to this... you have two choices - get help with locating senior care for your aging parent NOW by clicking on Get Local Senior Help Now or you can remain worried, confused, and worn-out. Let me prove it to you - Ask me now!

Which situation are you in?

My loved one is in a crisis! As you may already know, health conditions of our seniors develop over time. I'm telling, from my experience, the need to arrange for caregiving or senior help comes on fast, when you least expect it.

I'm a family caregiver and I need help! Whether you are paid or not, caring for a senior is hard work and quickly leads to stress and burnout.

I want to plan for the future, now what? The time to plan for elder or senior care such as advance directives, getting legal papers in order, financial strategies, living arrangements, help with caregiving, and dealing with changes are much easier if you prepare in advance. It's better if the aging loved one can participate in the process of their care.

We can help you. Send me an email or leave a message for us by calling 1-888-797-7806. We promise to get back with you as soon as possible.

Gain your peace of mind. Call or email me. Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Assessing Texas Senior's Needs to Stay Home Safely

Samantha Young, Director of Practical Care Continuum, a home care agency in Austin, Texas shares solid tips on senior's living at home.

Are you confused when thinking about your aging parent's safety? Do you second guess your aging family member's ability to live independently? And yet, you know deep in your heart that they really want to remain in their home and you don't want to disrupt their comfort level.

And you know what? Most family caregivers walk this path of second guessing and worrying about our parent's safety, cleanliness, and nutrition. So how can you know what to look for when evaluating the safety of a loved one in their home?

What Samantha talks about here are the safety issues and what to look for to make sure your family member is safe, especially while they are away.

And that's not all, Samantha shares a checklist with us that she gives to families when they are in a dilemma of figuring out what to look for. I remember when my siblings and I were in the middle of helping dad and figuring out what kind of help he needs, it would have been so helpful to have a checklist that Practical Care gives to families facilitating direction and clarity.

Here's a sample of what to look for when assessing for the care they need:

  • Ability to use the phone - operates the phone on own initiative. Can dial, look up numbers, etc.
  • Shopping - takes care of all shopping needs independently.
  • Food preparation - plans, shops, prepares, and serves adequate meals independently.
  • Housekeeping - maintains the house alone or occassional help for cleaning.
  • Laundry - does personal laundry completely
  • Travel - independently on on public transportation or drives own car.
  • Responsibility for own medication - is responsible for taking correct dosage at correct times.
  • Ability to handle finances - manages financial matters independently.
Obviously, the list above is best case scenario. Go to is see the entire checklist and to take the test.

Thank you for visiting.