Is the responsibility feeling heavy? Do you wonder how you can do this and still keep it all together – your job, your family, your sanity? Eldercare is tough. But being organized can take a few layers of stress off your shoulders.
- Your aging parent with Alzheimer’s is having a rough day and decides to wander away from their residence. You have leave work to go find them. You are the only manager on duty at work.
- The caretaker for your parent who lives at home calls in sick. Your parent requires 24-hour care. You have to find a replacement or you have to go yourself. This is the 3rd time in 2 weeks and your boss just assigned you a project due today at 5 PM.
- You get a call from the assisted living facility where your parent lives. Your parent has just fallen and is in the ambulance with a possible fractured hip. The parent will not be able to return to the assisted living facility immediately after hospital discharge. You have to find a rehab facility for them. Your parent lives 2000 miles away. You have a presentation to your company’s newest client next week.
- Your parent might qualify for Veteran’s benefits that would allow him to move into assisted living. You have to take your parent to the nearest VA office for an in-person interview. That VA office is 50 miles away in the next big city. The VA can’t guarantee a firm time for the appointment – you just have to show up and stand in line. You work for a retailer who depends on you to run the store from 10 to 6.
The other three reasons were listed in last week’s blog. The result is same for all of them. Your parent needs you and the time required to help them is extensive. And, it’s not just once – sometimes you have to spend some of every day or some of every week on their needs.
You have a full time job, you have a family, you have benefits related to those – but you don’t have any benefits related to caretaking of your aging parents.
Believe it or not, taking care of the old people often requires lots of time spent on the phone, in a doctor’s office, at the attorney’s office, searching for suitable facilities for them, etc. Most of these places work the same hours that you do – 8 AM to 5 PM.
How do you manage to keep your job? You plan ahead and you are organized.
You treat this like a project at work:
- Assess what will be required
- How it can be done most efficiently
- Who can do it
- What time it will take
You budget your time accordingly, you bring in help when you can, you automate some of it, and you plan to do as much work on your off-time as possible.
You can’t plan for every scenario, but you can be prepared in many ways.
It’s not a short-term project by the way. It’s a long-term commitment. See how you could lose a few marbles?
Oh, and you read my book How to Take Care of Old People Without Losing Your Marbles now. There are many ideas, resources and shortcuts for making the care more manageable.
It’s not a cake-walk and it won’t ever be without glitches. BUT you are not alone; lots of us are walking the path with you and there are ways to make it less overwhelming and more rewarding over time. Plus, the stories can always bring a good, stress-relieving laugh.