This is the first segment of a blog and video series meant to draw attention to caregivers; the challenges they face and the impact on their lives. A person becomes a caregiver over the course of time. It often starts out subtly; mom just seems to be slowing down. She isn’t covering all the bases all the time. You begin making time to take her to the doctor; take her to the store; pick up her prescriptions; and stop by often to check on her. You want to be there for your mom; you’re happy to do it.
The one thing a caregiver can count on is that things will change. As they do, the effect on the caregiver’s life begins to take shape. Healthcare emergencies can result in a parent’s loss of independence with activities of daily living. Suddenly, the child caregiver realizes that they need to put their life on hold to provide the support their parent needs.
Sometimes different events take place involving the parent that seem isolated and temporary at the time. The following events herald significant change in the parent’s needs and in the caregiver’s scope of work sooner rather than later.
1. Pattern of falling begins – two or more times in one year.
2. Deconditioning leading to the use of a cane, walker, or wheelchair.
3. Failure to thrive over time – loss of interest, withdrawal from others, and mood swings.
4. Revolving door – pattern of trips to the ER, hospitalization, skilled rehab, then back home. Then there is a next time, and another one etc.…
5. Memory loss – the familiar becomes unfamiliar and confusing.
6. Inability to manage self, finances, or the home.
7. Sudden change in personality – the sweet person you have known all your life has become mean and perhaps acts out aggressively.
8. Driving issues – accidents, tickets, getting lost, loosing track of the parked car.
The blogs and videos that follow in this series will discuss the legal and practical issues raised by events and circumstances and provide options for dealing with them.