Dealing with Aging Parents/Loved Ones

Each of us are called in many ways to be of assistance to our parents and loved ones as the aging process increasingly becomes an issue. As time passes, the call to assist your parents or loved ones who now require additional in-home care is one of the many challenges you will face as you look to find ways to “maintain” a safe home environment.

Let me begin by telling you that I’m dealing with aging parent issues almost on a daily basis. There is very little I haven’t experienced with my parents who we (family members) have decided to do everything we can to keep them in their home. From contracted snowplowing and shoveling, to sibling assistance with firewood, home repairs, and other assorted home ownership issues, we feel we are doing our best to honor our parents wishes to stay in their home. The situation is even more challenging when you add the pandemic into the mix.

However, there will come a time when you will begin to notice that issues within the home are being neglected which may turn into a health or safety issue. Certain daily medical needs such as the proper pill allocation are either forgotten or ignored due to certain levels of forgetfulness (dementia?) setting in. It is further exacerbated when one parent becomes the “in home caregiver” for the other which puts a definite strain upon the health of that parent who not only has their own issues, but has taken on the responsibilities for their spouse/partner. This is a very difficult situation as studies have shown that the spouse caregiver will begin to exhibit medical/memory issues due to the additional responsibilities of caring for the other partner within the home.

The best advice I can give you is to be patient! Calm down and very quietly observe the issues you deem to be a concern. Once you have determined that in home care is necessary, meet with the respective caregiver firm to explain thoroughly your observation and solicit suggestions as to how to properly handle having the “talk” with you parents. Many times, the caregiver firm will offer to assist the responsible party as to a discussion about in-home care. Keep in mind that you know the personalities of your parent (s) or loved ones and the topics of in-home care may cause some discussion and friction as this may be viewed by your parents as relinquishing a certain portion of control of their home schedule and daily lives.

Each situation is different as are personalities of families involved. It is a difficult situation and IF you are the one responsible for your parent’s or loved one’s care, understand there are additional community resources available through the local Door County ADRC along with churches and support groups to provide you the resources to assist you. This is not an easy task and as challenging as it may seem, many people have found a way to successfully handle the discussion after conversations with religious and or professional personnel which adds credibly to your overall observation.

I look forward to sharing experiences as we all do our best to find solutions to a very complicated and difficult challenge. So please check back for more to be added to my journey!


Ben There