More Hints on Making Help Happen for Mom and Dad

So far you’ve learned a lot about assessing and implementing help for Mom and Dad. Here are some more hints:

Know your Facts

  • Assess the real need by stepping your parent through their day. Where do they think the challenges lie – what do you think – and compare notes. Are their needs medical, social, transportation, nutritional, general life-skills? What are the most pressing issues to be addressed first?

Choose your Team

  • Inform yourself on the many resources available, including private, volunteer, public sector and community services; their features, advantages and availability.

Do the Math

  • Depression-era parents often have deeply rooted money anxiety. Get a range of prices for each type of service, compare it to your requirements, and do the arithmetic up-front. For example, your church may offer free ‘friendly visiting’ for a lonely senior; however, someone requiring assistance with twice-daily insulin injections will require a registered practical nurse at $18-$25/hour.

Write it Down

  • It is essential to document your requirements; what type of service do you need, at what level, for what frequency? It’s a good idea to develop a position description to clarify for all three parties – caregiver, parent, and adult child – what’s expected, and what’s not included. Instead of making assumptions – ‘and why wasn’t this done?’ – get it sorted out beforehand.

Get it Done

  • The key to successful implementation is to manage expectations – yours and your parent’s. Do this by reviewing your requirements and establishing clear goals that you want to accomplish; for example, getting help once a week for grocery shopping. Then, building on each success, expand to another item on the requirements list. Honouring the goals you agreed upon together helps your parent build trust and regain a sense of progress toward the challenges that were initially so daunting.

Keep in Touch

No system is foolproof and backsliding is to be expected – ‘I’m coping fine now, dear’. It’s frustrating when your mother fires the caregiver you painstakingly selected, supposedly with her approval, and you’ll have to go back to the initial steps a few times, taking her through the reasoning once again.

Even in the most ideal circumstances, needs will change over time. Carefully monitor what’s happening, listen to your mom and to the caregiver, and expect fine-tuning.