Sandy is a part of the Sandwich Generation meaning that she still has children at home and her parents recently reached a care level to need supervision and regular visits, and she is in the middle managing the care for the other parts of the sandwich. Sandy is optimistic, and really wants to be able to juggle all three parts of the sandwich.
Before her parents needed care she did some research, made a few calls to talk with friends who were in a similar situation and decided it would be a good idea to get in touch with a care manager before she needed one. We were happy to receive her call because we find so many of the calls we receive come in during a crisis and Sandy was a planner who wanted to know her options before they were needed. The meeting went well with Sandy, and she shared what the care situation was looking like now for her parents and what type of role she wanted to take in the care of her parents. We visited her parents in their home to see if we could provide feedback and recommendations and there were a few things that we saw that were concerning, mostly surrounding large loose rugs in the home and other safety issues. I also noticed that her mom was struggling a bit with memory and repeating a story a couple of times.
After the initial visit, I sat with Sandy and talked about the concerns that were noticed by her and by me. I offered to create a care plan with recommendations and options to send to her for review. By getting ahead of some of the current concerns it would be easier to manage the next steps as needed.
Sandy stated that she was going to get even more organized. She had her family’s schedule down coordinated on a 3-month family calendar. Next, she was going to sit down with her parents to talk with them about the things that were important to them as she increased her caregiving role. After spending a few hours with them and talking over what they expected or would like to see her doing for them, she felt it was going to be a revolving door. Her parents could agree on dinner time but not the dinners, they both had different bathing schedules, their own TV shows and schedules, and their medication lists were complex and required regular attention. After having the information for her parent’s care, she looked at her family’s schedule.
Keeping in mind what I shared about how her parents’ care was going to be very fluid she set out to put together her vision of a schedule based on what she knew. It started out pretty well, shopping and meal prep on the weekends, encouraging bathing on the weekend, along with doing the majority of the cleaning. During the week she had activities with her children so she would drop in at lunch time or after dinner. She started having trouble attending the week day activities. She was dropping the kids off and running over to her parents. They have misplaced the remote, or need to know what channel Wheel of Fortune is on. She was fielding numerous calls from them, wondering when she would be over, or looking for their glasses, just random things.
She was a couple months into it and the bottom fell out of the plan. It was not working perfectly, but when her mom had a fall, it changed everything. Additionally, she was recently helping with her dad’s increasing overnight incontinence. I was not surprised when she called me. I headed over to the hospital to meet with her in her mom’s room. We discussed the current changes and talked about her role. She wanted to be involved but was doing too much and was overwhelmed.
With her mom needing to go to a rehab facility for physical therapy once the hospital discharged her, it meant that a change needed to be made for the care of her father. We met during the week to tour a couple of assisted living facilities that offered short-term stays for spouses who were alone while their spouse was in the hospital or rehab. The one closest to Sandy’s home was a great fit for her dad’s needs and Sandy loved the feel of it. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and it felt like a home. She let her mom and dad know that she was going to help dad stay there while mom was going through her treatment work and then when it was time for her to go home, they would meet again and discuss options. Her mom was so relieved. She had been worried about his care while she was not able to be with him. I set up a schedule to see him in the assisted living and to visit her mom in the rehab facility to make sure that their needs were properly being met. Everyone was so relieved to know that Sandy didn’t have to do it all alone and I was happy to help.
When her mom finished the rehab work, she still had issues with mobility including getting in and out of her bed easily. The tough decision was made that mom would join dad at the assisted living and they would receive the proper care for their specific needs.
To this day, I still visit to check on them in the assisted living and Sandy visits them often. She is enjoying her caregiver role because she feels that having the details of care handled, she can spend her visit time just loving on them and having family time.
I’ve been able to connect Sandy with the right professionals to do estate and financial planning as well as help pack, move, and sell items from the home. Our partnership has benefited Sandy in her caregiving role and has benefited me as I am able to help her parents receive the highest quality of care and the services needed to reduce stress and streamline costs.
If you or someone in your family are facing these or other aging related challenges, please give us a call at 803-215-1019 or email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to assist!