Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, July 07, 2008

If only I had known…

Jane Gross in today’s NY Times echoes the woes of Gen Sandwichers everywhere. We learn by doing and by making mistakes. Unfortunately, it’s our parents who pay the price for our learning curve. Every day, every phone call raises a new challenge, a new dilemma that I don’t know how to solve. Sometimes I guess right; sometimes I’m wrong. Hopefully I won’t make a serious error in judgment, either medically or financially. I want my mom’s final years to be as carefree as possible, but when her only backup is me, it’s pretty tenuous. So far I haven’t blown it too badly, but every day is a new challenge.

With her recent fall, my brother and I made some mistakes that we didn’t know until later. We signed up for LifeAlert when we meant to call LifeLine. We contracted with a homemaker agency and later learned they could only do 20% homemaking. The rest needed to be personal care. We already had an agency providing PT and bath assistance. What Mom needed was homemaking services. We had to cancel that contract and hire an individual to help with homemaking. Minor errors, but frustrating.

I also run into continuing challenges with medical care. Fortunately, I have some limited knowledge, but never enough, it seems. She has some conditions that her primary seems to take pretty lightly. I’m never sure when to press for a referral and when to trust him. Like Jane Gross, I long for a gerontologist who will manage her care. And I pray that the mistakes I make will be minor…

How do you handle the uncertainties?

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1 comment(s):

Kicking off “Sandwich Generation Month,” the results of a new Harris Poll commissioned by Presto Services Inc. and Christian Companion Senior Care show that of the 20 million U.S. “Sandwichers”—those struggling with the responsibilities of caring for their children and their aging parents:
• 53% feel forced to choose between neglecting either their parents’ needs or their kids’ needs at least ONCE EACH WEEK.
• 20% of Sandwichers make this stressful decision EVERY DAY.
• 40% believe their parents did a better job of balancing multi-generational caregiving than they do.
Two companies offering some practical help to ease caregiving stress and improve communication with aging parents:
• Presto—which couples an HP Printing Mailbox and Presto Mail service—enables family members to send email messages, family photos and notes of encouragement as well as daily reminders, medical instructions and more to seniors who aren't online—saving time and easing the stress of caregiving.
• Christian Companion Senior Care is the first organization to offer practical in-home assistance and spiritual encouragement, making it possible for seniors to remain in their own homes and live independently.
It would be intersting to see what your blog readers thinks that would help them manage multi-generational caregiving responsibilities – a) flex hours at work, b) an understanding spouse, c) help from an outside source, d) technology advances.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:25 AM  

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