I haven’t written about my parents’ journey as much as I have about my professional experience as a senior care adviser. Yet my life is taking the same path as many of yours – helping aging parents. And our personal experiences shape who we are as much as our professional ones.
I’ve written posts about my parents in law. They lived here in San Diego before they both passed in the last year and a half. Jack and Bonnie had in home care in the months leading up to Bonnie’s passing. And we placed Jack in a wonderful small Escondido board and care home for the final months of his life.
As an elder care adviser, I get to listen to and learn from all of our your experiences every day.
Sharing our stories is so healing. So here is the beginning of my parents’ journey….
My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in early 2016. We knew she had some memory loss, but the reality of this diagnosis was surprising. Since this time, mom’s done well. She’s been in their home with my dad who is still alert and capable at 88. And he’s adjusted to helping with the day to day chores he’s never handled before.
Mom started going to a day program for seniors with dementia two times a week, which has been wonderful. It gives my dad a break, and she really enjoys the appropriate activities and socializing with others. So things had been going along fairly well….until early August.
Mom has remained active and taken a daily walk in their neighborhood every morning for years. She became confused a few times about where she was but always managed to get back home.
My siblings and I pressed my dad to go with her, but he never thought he needed to. Then that type of event that changes circumstances in a senior’s life happened…she fell and broke her hip.
What followed was partial hip replacement surgery, five days of hospitalization, and a big decline in mom’s memory. My sister stayed with mom in the hospital several times overnight to keep her anxiety in check. My siblings and I then took turns helping my parents in their home once my mom came home.
We requested mom come directly home from the hospital for her rehabilitation. We knew her confusion could get worse moving her to another new place with more new people and different treatments. It was a good decision.
Standard practice is to have a patient recovering from surgery go to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. But for a senior with Alzheimer’s, or any form of dementia, this may not be wise.
It’s important families know this decision is entirely up to them to make, not the hospital or doctors. Families always have the option of having their loved one come home with rehabilitation therapy coming to them. This is called home health care and it’s covered by insurance. Home Health can be physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy, for example.
Now six weeks later, mom’s hip is healing well, but my parents’ journey, like your’s may be, is changing…