How much time am I supposed to devote to my parents' care on a daily basis?

Follow
Share

My parents live in my home. Both are in their early 90s. Both are ill: father with late stage dementia and mother with mobility issues. I have full-time caregivers seven days a week. Even though I have caregivers, I spend an inordinate amount of time planning and preparing three meals a day, seven days a week. I do grocery shopping, pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy, coordinate with medical professionals who come to the house, handle all finances, do their laundry, and the list goes on. My husband thinks I do too much and is annoyed when I can't get away because a nurse or a physical therapist is scheduled to come to the house. My mother is more than annoyed when I am not there when the nurse comes for even a routine procedure and insists that I be there. I don't think it is necessary for me to be on hand every time my mother or my father have a home visit. Each day I have at least three or four professionals coming to the house for one thing or another. I try to be there when I think it is important and I keep in contact with them via text, email, and phone. I feel overwhelmed because of conflicting expectations. How does one deal with being pulled in so many directions and finding a balance? I know with my mother I have to establish firm boundaries otherwise I will never be able to leave the house.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
10

Answers

Show:
Demstress, a few suggestions...

1. Cut the meal planning and prep time; create menus for several meals, such as cooking chicken or some other meat, then making various dishes using that basic ingredient. Freeze meals that can easily be warmed up. Buy in quantity.

I'm preparing now for winter and plan to stock up enough on dry, frozen and canned foods that I won't have to shop again for them until Spring.

2. Order Meals on Wheels for your parents if you think they'll eat the meals. One of the benefits is the friendly visitors who delivery the meals. The Senior Center, if it's the one that coordinates and manages the program, may also have visitors who just stop by to chat.

3. Consider discussing meal prep or reheating with the caregivers. They also can cook larger quantities ahead of time.

4. Ask the pharmacist as each med needs to be refilled to fill only enough to bring it on a schedule when other meds need to be refilled, so that you can refill all of them at one time. I've discussed this with our pharmacist, and plan to ask one of our doctors to prescribe enough that I can get several refills at one time. That'll narrow it down to once every 3 months.

I can do this b/c we don't need a Part D meds plan; my father's needs don't even reach the level of that plan being cost effective. So it's just 2 meds and the rest are vitamins, which I'll also stock up on.

I'm still working on creating an inventory so I have a better grip on what's in stock and what still needs to be purchased.

5. If your parents have laundry facilities in the house, ask the caregivers to handle the laundry. Mom and Dad can help fold it; that'll give them something to do, while interacting with the caregivers.

6. If you haven't already, prepare ops manuals and cleaning schedules on all the devices that might be used - air filters, humidifiers, oxygen tanks, frig, stove, etc. This will help caregivers in handling these cleaning tasks on a regular basis.

7. You mentioned coordinating with medical pros. Is this to set up appointments, ongoing medical issues, or something that can be delegated to a caregiver?

8. In my Ops Manual I'm also including instructions on alert conditions related to my father's health. I'll have baseline conditions, conditions which need to be monitored and watched, and emergency conditions.

Even though the caregivers won't be medical pros, they can tell which conditions need to be addressed immediately and won't need to call me for every little change.

9. Lastly, put yourself in the caregivers' positions and ask which of their tasks could be expanded (within parameters of your contract) to alleviate some of your tasks.

24/7 caregivers could probably do a lot more than they're doing; you might also want to sit down and discuss this with them to see how you can shift some your basic responsibilities and maintain the "management" tasks for yourself.

They might also welcome more variety in their workloads.

On your behalf, I think it's common for caregivers to feel overwhelmed and overburdened b/c there's so much to do, and it's a work in progress to move to the point that you're comfortable delegating. Then it's a relief to have so much more support.

Work toward that relief, and enjoy it when you've reached that point!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

demstress, you are doing too much especially when your parents have caregivers helping them. I remember when I hired caregivers for my Dad, the Agency told me what were the responsibilities of the caregivers regarding the patient, and that the caregivers would do light housekeeping, linen service, clothes washing when time permit, and making the meals.

Dad liked TV dinners so that made it easy for the caregivers. Dad was in his 90's so I figured he should eat what he liked. Dad did have one caregiver who loved to cook, so she would make him things from scratch, or bring over left overs from her own kitchen the night before. Her sisters would make cookies and cakes "for Mr. Bob".

Now I had to keep the kitchen and pantry stocked with can goods, soups, etc. Bread, luncheon meat, fruits. Eventually I used on-line grocery shopping where I didn't need to go into the store. It was curb-side pickup once a week.

Eventually one of his caregivers said she would be more than happy to take Dad to his doctor appointments, and that worked out well. She would give me call afterwards. Plus she and Dad would stop at Burger King for lunch, something Dad really enjoyed.

I know it can be hard to let go of the reins, especially since your Mom wants your there as a security blanket for her. Are the caregivers the same each day? I had to do trial runs with a few before I found a couple perfect matches for my Dad for during the day, caregivers who had a lot in common with Dad.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It seems like you are running a facility. Well, in fact you are. Caring for two seniors with serious demands is like that. I think that I would seriously sit down and streamline some things. I'd figure a way, like Cwillie says, to delegate much of what you are doing.

You state that your parents are in their 90's. Do they have an Advanced Healthcare Directive? Why so many professional appointments? Have you considered Palliative Care? I'd try to figure out what is really necessary.

I'd figure a way to order groceries and have them delivered. Have workers do the laundry. I'd focus on simple meals. I might cook dinner for DH, so he feels special. With all you are doing, I'd let mom's concerns be background noise and do what you feel is reasonable. High demands under the circumstances seem highly inappropriate.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You are right, you don't need to be there for all the people who come into your home, nor should you be. They should all be writing in a log book that you can read later, and they can leave a note if there is something that needs your attention.
As for all the rest, you sound like a bit of a perfectionist; meal plans shouldn't have to be that complicated, prescriptions can be delivered, each item of laundry doesn't need to be examined and pretreated for stains etc, just sorted and jammed in the machine. Make me time and couple time a priority - I like the suggestion of a date night, that way your husband knows he can have your undivided attention regularly.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

How long have your parents been living with you? How did they come to live with you? I'm always interested in the answers to these questions (particularly the second question). Do you have siblings that could come and provide respite?

Do they pay you something for the space, utilities and time they take?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Your mom may want you there because she needs someone to think of the questions to ask, or someone to remember what was said. I have a friend in this boat with her mom. Basically her mom has so much anxiety and stress about medical appointments, that she gets confused and doesn't ask questions or remember everything she's supposed to. Just a thought.

With home support, my mom was really resistant and stubborn as all h*** when we first started bringing workers in. I just kept telling her they weren't coming for her, they were coming for ME, that I needed a routine and to be able to plan my own activities, and they were there to give ME a break. Sometimes mothers are willing to do things for their kids that they aren't willing to do for themselves. I had to be there in the beginning, partly to keep mom from sending them away and partly to show the workers what needed to be done.  Now mom enjoys the bit of pampering she gets when they come in, as well as the company.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

When I had Home Healthcare visiting my Mom, most of the time she didn't let them in. I was their contact to phone when this happened. So most days I was running back and forth from my Mom's place to my own. She wouldn't let them or anyone else give her a sponge bath. She wouldn't let them make her anything but toast occasionally. When she was finally transferred to a nursing home I read the daily diary the Home health people kept. It read something like this. "Jean says her daughter was just over and had made her Lunch or daughter is coming over later to make dinner"

I know from experience and from the stories I have read on this forum that elderly people can be very sneaky. My Mom was no exception. If you want time with your husband you are going to have to just delegate and try to ignore that niggling feeling of guilt that all caregivers feel. It's hard but it's doable and frankly, I think it's mandatory if you want to keep your sanity, let alone your marriage.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

;You sound like me but it's my mom, and aunt.I must giggle sorry!! Feels good to not be ALONE! Ifor you have caregivers 7 days a week and you are doing everthing WHAT THE HECK DO THE CAREGIVERS DO?????No to be mean but they need to lighten your load!! have then do laundry ,,put clothes away ,showers or baths ,and if a caregiver is there at your house ...perfect time to sneak a trip away for an hour or two!!can't the caregiver come on the weekend so you and husband can get out ?The caregiver is getting paid to help let them HELP!! Good luck!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Demstress;>You sound like me but it's my mom, and aunt.I must giggle sorry!! Feels good to not be ALONE! Ifor you have caregivers 7 days a week and you are doing everthing WHAT THE HECK DO THE CAREGIVERS DO?????No to be mean but they need to lighten your load!! have then do laundry ,,put clothes away ,showers or baths ,and if a caregiver is there at your house ...perfect time to sneak a trip away for an hour or two!!can't the caregiver come on the weekend so you and husband can get out ?The caregiver is getting paid to help let them HELP!! Good luck!!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

It's really important to put your relationship with your husband before your parents care. They have paid caregivers. You deserve a scheduled date time with your husband at least once or twice a week. Even if it's just to stroll around the neighborhood or out for coffee .
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions