Home Health Care News

The 50-50 Rule: Real Life Situations (Part 3)

Communication Breakdown

Communication breakdowns can make a bad caregiving situation worse. If you’re not talking with your siblings, Mom and Dad may be the ones to suffer. According to research, the problem is a common one. Read on for suggestions.

Silent Siblings

You and your siblings haven’t been on speaking terms for years, but Mom and Dad now need help. How do you get the ball rolling?

It might help you to have a more thorough grasp of your parents’ situation. If time allows, spend a few days with your mom and dad, and try to develop a better understanding of what’s going on. Talk with your parents face-to-face. Tell them you just want to help and ask them to be honest with you about their needs.

Talk to their doctors, which you can do from a distance if you are not able to visit. Make a list of all of your concerns and share them with your parents’ medical professionals. Also discuss the situation with any close friends who might have knowledge of your parents’ health issues and living arrangements.

Sometimes, if one parent is healthy enough, that person may still be calling the shots about care for the couple. If your dad is the primary caregiver, try to engage him in conversation. Ask him what would be helpful to him. Sometimes the primary caregiver just needs emotional support.

You may find that unequal involvement among your siblings has to do with a parent. If a parent is contacting some of his children and not others, and gets along better with those siblings, then that situation will affect the big picture. Sometimes involving a third party is quite helpful in emotionally charged situations. A geriatric care manager, for instance has seen these issues multiple times and can let families know that their situation is not unique.

When you have a clear understanding of the situation, schedule a meeting or telephone conference with your siblings. Discuss with them the importance of putting aside differences for the care of your parents. Go through all the information you’ve found and ask for input. If not all siblings will participate, try to make a connection with those who will.

Lost Days

The devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease have taken their toll on your dad and now you are suffering, too. He wanders the house keeping you awake all night. Your brother refuses to discuss the situation. You’re thinking of putting Dad in a nursing home. Is that the best option?

You are in the throes of one of the most stressful caregiving situations. Those who care for Alzheimer’s patients are more likely to report a high level of emotional stress than those who care for seniors with other conditions, 40% versus 28%, according to “Caregiving in the U.S., A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 50 and Older.” In a survey of family caregivers conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network, 90% say they have episodes of feeling anxious or irritable, 77% say the needs of their seniors are overwhelming and 56% are ill more often.

For your own health, you need to address your situation immediately. First, contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 help line at 1-800-272-3900 (email info@alz.org).

They can give you resources in your community and help you talk through the issues and determine what options are available to you. There are companies that provide respite care in the home that allow Alzheimer’s caregivers like you time away. Many communities also have wonderful facilities to care for an Alzheimer’s patient. By attending a local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, you can connect with others in the same situation and receive moral support and ideas for your caregiving dilemma.

Contact your brother and let him know that you cannot look after your father alone and that you would like more direct support from him; otherwise, you will have to seek help elsewhere. Discuss some of the options that you have researched. If your brother refuses to help, select the best option for your father and you. If your brother will not be involved, his view about a nursing home placement should not be the basis for your decision about what you and your father both need.

Home Instead Senior Care is an in-home health care provider located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina serving individuals and families in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area for over 11 years! We offer assistance to those in need for companionship, home help, personal care, short-term recovery, Alzheimer’s care, Respite care and many other services to make your life easier.

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Murrells Inlet, SC 29576