Mom has been diagnosed with cancer, and Dad’s memory isn’t very good… You know you’re expected to be there to take care of them, but….
You live hundreds of miles away. You have a demanding job and your family to take care of.
You can’t be in two places at once.
You want to help! But you’re frustrated with the demands on your location and your time. And… you feel just a little bit guilty. How can you make choices that satisfy everyone who needs a piece of you?
You can’t. And you shouldn’t have to.
In the “old days” people didn’t live so long. The man who would have died of a heart attack at the age of 50, is now living into his 70s, and dealing with diagnoses he never would have had if he hadn’t lived so long. The woman who would have outlived him and perhaps moved closer to her children so she’d have family around her as she aged, isn’t right around the corner anymore – either because she’s still living with her older husband (who didn’t die when he was 50), or because she’s just that independent.
Never before in history have we experienced the extent of this phenomenon of older parents who need help, living so far away from the loved ones who can help them.
There may be another problem in managing that situation, too. Where there are two or more siblings, whether or not one lives nearby Mom and Dad, frustrations and arguments are exposed, as they determine who will be responsible for all the monitoring, transporting, prescription filling, grocery shopping, dog feeding, lawn mowing, appointment responding – and more.
Does this sound like your situation? Are you trying to figure out how to juggle it all? Are you being tugged in too many directions?
One answer is to find the right person to help you; to be your eyes, ears, assistant and observer. A professional who Mom and Dad will trust, respect, appreciate – and even like…
… with the added plus of… proximity! Your boots on the ground where Mom and Dad are. This person can accompany them to doctor appointments – then report to you the important findings when Mom or Dad “forgot what he said.”
This person is your health or patient advocate – a care and life manager. He or she can make arrangements for prescriptions to be filled, tests to be run, transportation to and from, and more. If hospitalizations are needed, your advocate can be there for admission (what do you do in an emergency when you’re hundreds of miles away?) and later when your parent returns home and just can’t do what needs to be done for him or herself.
It’s like instant peace of mind. No longer will you feel the need to choose between your family and your parents. You and your brother can stop arguing over who’s responsible to take care of what.
Conundrum solved without dropping a single responsibility.