One year ago I received the phone call. “Laurie, your Dad and I can’t do this by ourselves, we’re getting scared”. Up until now, I had been trying to handle some of their finances and caregivers while living in Denver, they were in South Florida. It was becoming stressful and time consuming while trying to maintain a new business. Now in fairness, my business was not successful. It had potential, but I just didn’t have the strength to do this another year without getting a full time job on top of it. That was doable, and I had the job lined up before the call. I thought and prayed on it a lot before I made the offer. Could I leave my kids, grand kids and family? I had an offer to sell the business back in November (this was January). I told my Mom I would think about moving down there, but we both needed to think and pray on it. On that next Monday I called and said yes, she cried and said “Thank you”.
The first few months were a whirlwind. Let me explain their condition when I got here. Dad had dementia, prostate cancer (diagnosed just in last few years) and had a stroke that took most of his sight in one eye a year earlier. Mom has terrible rheumatoid arthritis in her back and neck that leaves her in severe pain. She also has congestive heart failure. When I arrived Dad was using a cane, but very unsteady. Mom in constant pain and struggling to move much at all. We had hired a “day” person a year prior who worked weekdays preparing meals and cleaning the house. This person’s job was getting more and more involved before I got here. Doctors appointments were becoming once and twice a week. Needs were increasing and she was running down. I was using a nursing agency for a few nights a week for overnight and part of the weekends.
The first thing I felt I needed to do was get a hold of what was happening financially. There was money, but not an endless supply! We also had a long term health care plan that I just gotten my Mom using. In this blog I am going to go over some of the things I did, things I discovered, and things I failed at.
I hope it can be helpful to the next person who finds themselves needing to “parent” their parent.