The phone rings in the middle of the night, and the person on the other line informs you that your mother has fallen—and she’s on her way to the emergency room to have her hip checked out.
And so it begins, the slippery slope of aging. The emergency room visit is long and the x-rays are inconclusive. You are asked by the ER physician if she should stay the night for observation because she cannot bear weight on her leg. That question hardly made any sense. Of course she should stay—she can’t go home if she can’t walk.
Additional studies confirmed a hip fracture. Two days after surgery, she is moved to a rehab center. The fall, the surgery, and the move to rehab change everything as your mother’s ability to care for herself will sadly never return back to the baseline.
That simple little fall in the kitchen also impacts the lives of her four children as they jump into caregiver mode. The role of being her caregivers continues to grow and can be exhausting at times.
Fast forward to three years later—your mother has now been faced with a few additional challenges. Her memory has gotten progressively worse and she’s had another large decline after an unfortunate bout of shingles.
My mother is now 87 years old. She has had a gradual decline in her memory and functional ability since my father passed away. So, for the last 10 years she has lived alone and now is no longer able to care for herself. Our situation is a little different than most because I have an extensive medical background as a physician assistant and I work as a Health Advocate. I am able to help find her the care she deserves. I understand her medical condition and her medical bills. I also am knowledgeable about the many resources available in the area that have made it possible for her to stay in her own home.
In the United States, there are over 40 million unpaid caregivers for adults over the age of 65. These caregivers are often female children who simultaneously work and are raising their own children. It has been estimated that the typical unpaid caregiver spends 13 hours each month coordinating medical appointments, researching care services or additional in-home care options, and helping with financial matters. On top of that, a caregiver may be providing help with personal care, maintenance of the home, meal preparation, and transportation needs.
Many of these time-consuming tasks can be reduced by working with a health advocate who can provide the guidance and resources needed to assist in the care of a loved one. Severino Health Advisors is ready to be there when you or a family member is struggling with new or chronic health-related condition. Our ultimate goal is to give you peace of mind so you can spend more time being a loved one and less time being a caregiver.