I have seen many clients struggle with caring for their parents, and I thought it would be years before my time would come. It is particularly difficult when you live in different cities.
In May, my 68 year old mother-in-law, Charleen, had surgery to receive a pacemaker to control her arterial fibrulation. The operation seemed simple enough and she should be home the next day. Unfortunately, she experienced multiple complications due to a device malfunction and an inept surgeon. Finally, after her third operation, she is on the road to recovery.
My mother-in-law lives alone and my husband and I wanted to ensure that she continues on the road to recovery. We recently hired a Geriatric Care Manager, Terry, to meet with Charleen and communicate with her at least monthly. I found Terry through https://www.caremanager.org/. I selected her because she is an RN and JD. She has been a valuable resource to ensure that Charleen is getting the best care possible.
After an initial assessment of Charleen’s health, she furnished my husband and I with a report listing all of her medications, any potential interactions between drugs, follow up questions for her next doctor’s visit and a list of recommendations to make Charleen’s life easier. Based on this report we now know she needs a cleaning service to help her with heavy cleaning on a monthly basis and that she has started feeling isolated as her arthritic knees limit her mobility. We now have local contacts for transportation during the winter and social activities for seniors.
The biggest benefit to hiring a Geriatric Care Manager is peace of mind for my husband and I, as well as Charleen. Because we cannot see her in person on a frequent basis, it is comforting to know that Terry can visit when needed and give us an assessment of Charleen’s progress. Charleen likes having a medical professional she can call when she has questions that she wouldn’t typically call her doctor to ask.
Our parents spend years taking care of us. Now it is time to return the favor. A possible knee replacement is in Charleen’s future. With Terry’s help, we feel much more confident assessing Charleen’s options so that the decisions we make with her will have Charleen out and enjoying her retirement once again.
-By Chris Carleton CFP(r)