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Thank You, Susie, for Paving the Way

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By Elizabeth Shean

I always thought it would be difficult to get my parents to accept the idea of in-home care. I felt sure they would see it as unnecessary (“we can take care of ourselves”) and a financial burden (“I can’t afford that”). But it turned out to be very easy to get them onboard with the idea, and for that I can thank my late mother-in-law.

Lee’s mom, Susie, was a very special person in my life. I’ve never known a person who had more zest for life than she did. She was always up for socializing and enjoyed throwing impromptu parties.

Susie also was a pro-active planner who didn’t believe in leaving important life details to chance. In one conversation we had while she was still in robust health, she told me she knew she would not be able to take care of herself forever, and she planned to hire various types of helpers as the need arose. I told her I would be happy to help with whatever she might need in the future, but she professed a strong belief in not “burdening” her children or daughters-in-law with any kind of caregiving duties.

And so, in due course over the years, she first hired a crew to take care of the yard, and later a weekly house cleaner and ultimately a Home Instead® CAREGiver℠.

Naturally I talked about Susie’s caregiving experience with my own parents, and from the stories I told they could see the benefit of hiring in-home care for themselves eventually. They still expressed reservations about the expense, but we were able to overcome that argument when they investigated assisted living and realized in-home care was far less expensive—with the added benefit of allowing them to stay in their own home.

Recently I overheard Mom talking to her brother on the phone. Explaining her living situation to him, she said, “I have a CAREGiver coming in twice a week now. For me, it’s basically assisted living at home.” She used the phrase “assisted living at home” to me later that week, too. “I knew I’d never be able to afford an assisted living facility,” she said, “but I feel my current arrangement is like assisted living at home. I mean, having a CAREGiver gives me the benefits of assisted living, but I don’t have to downsize. I can keep all my own furniture and books and DVDs. And it’s a fraction of the price of assisted living.”

I’m thankful my mom recognizes the value of home care because it relieves me of the stress of being solely responsible for her care. I’m thankful to Home Instead Senior Care® for finding us such an excellent CAREGiver for my mom. Most of all, I’m thankful to my late mother-in-law, Susie, for pioneering this option. It’s because she was willing to “go first” and give in-home care a try that I was able to easily get my own parents to open their eyes to this option. I love you, Susie!

Comments

Posted by Anna (November 23, 2016)

I agree that many elderly parents feel a sense of frustration at the hassle of in-home help! However, a personal alarm could give them a sense of freedom whilst also giving you a peace of mind knowing that help is only a quick call away.

Reply
Posted by Elizabeth Shean (November 28, 2016)

Thanks for posting, Anna. I definitely believe there is a role for those personal alarm gadgets. In fact, we had one for my Dad when he had dementia. However, a personal alarm cannot bathe a person, like my mother needs, nor can it cook or clean or cut the grass. So, in the case of my late mother-in-law (and now, my mother), a personal alarm device isn't helpful. Amusingly, when my dad had one he was constantly setting it off inadvertently, and I'd receive phone calls at work that paramedics were at my house (because the "talking box" that goes with those devices confused him, so he wouldn't respond). Again, I think a personal alarm can be a great option for an older person who doesn't have dementia and can still accomplish her own activities of daily living. But I wouldn't hesitate to hire a professional caregiver for a loved one who needs practical assistance.

Reply
Posted by Anna (November 30, 2016)

I completely agree, the use of personal alarms is definitely situational and those who require a higher level of care, such as your mother and mother-in-law should not be limited. For those that can still safely retain their independence however, an alarm is a great option.

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