What To Do When Your Aging Mom Needs Care And You Have A Family

Jan 31, 2018 | Resources for Families

My mom and dad have been best friends since the day they met. Decades later, they still held hands as they walked along. Witnessing this love as their child has always warmed my heart. I am happy to say that the love they displayed is the very kind of relationship I’ve found as a grown woman. As spouses, we should depend on one another as if our lives depended on it. Little did I know how important and scary that would be as my parents grew older. When your aging mom needs care unexpectedly, it can turn your whole world upside down. This is exactly what happened to me.

I started to notice things about my mother’s vision that bothered me. She seemed to have a lot of difficulty reading, she mistook ordinary objects for other things, such as the body wash in the shower for shampoo. I suppose anyone can do this once in their life but she’d joke about doing it all the time. She’d fumble for small objects on the table, commenting that she needed better glasses. When magnifying glasses appeared all over their house for her to use, I became alarmed.

My Aging Mom Needs Care For Her New Vision Disability

I asked my dad about my mom’s vision troubles but he’d make excuses. I suppose he didn’t want to admit his wife was losing her vision; quickly. Finally, an appointment was made. My mother was diagnosed with macular degeneration. Eventual blindness would be her fate. My father dutifully filled the roll of her eyes whenever she needed help. He’d rush to her side as soon as he saw her in need of assistance. She didn’t need for anything, in fact, he inserted himself as her helper a little too often. She’d quip that she was fine when she tired of his overly eager offering of assistance. It was her way of letting him know she intended to be as independent as she still could be. He’d shrug and walk away, commenting that her old age was making her cranky.

Driving finally had to stop. She became depressed, as often happens when your aging mom needs care. My dad had to drive her to all of her events and appointments. She always enjoyed water aerobics at the pool, dad made sure she never missed a session. It was very cute to see how well he became accustomed to doting on her every whim and keeping her happy as her vision declined. Decline it did. You never know how much your aging mom needs care until you start watching someone try to do it and keep a sense of normalcy in their lives. Everything became about my mom. But my dad didn’t seem to mind taking care of his best friend. He never complained about a thing.

I was just so glad she had my dad to take care of her. My confidence in my dad came at a steep price. I never asked about anything. I didn’t concern myself with anything about her declining health. I never asked if he needed help. I should have. In addition to her vision issues, she developed congestive heart failure. My dad seemed confident that she was fine and he was taking care of things, so I let him roll with it.

When Your Aging Mom Needs Care As Well As Your Dad

My dad suffered a stroke while he was shoveling the walkway on a snowy Tuesday winter morning. Not only would he need to spend weeks in the hospital, as soon as he was able, he’d be discharged to a rehabilitation center. It became apparent in an instant that I needed to step in and take care of mom for the foreseeable future. The only problem was, I didn’t know anything about how to fill those shoes and my dad was unable to communicate what to do!

  • Who are her doctors?
  • What does she take for medication?
  • What are some symptoms that she is not doing well?
  • What do you do for her?
  • When are her appointments?
  • Where are her appointments?!

My own family of 4, plus a full-time career, already took up more time than I had. How was I going to handle all of this? How could I keep my dad informed of everything? I was an only child. I was all they had. After I freaked out, I rallied and sought answers, mainly out of self preservation…right after I set up my spare bedroom as my mother’s new headquarters.

I Found A Way To Gain Confidence In Family Caregiving

That’s when I discovered eCare Vault. A friend of mine had been using it as a way to collaborate with her daughter’s teachers and specialists for school. “Why don’t you use it for your mom?,” she recommended as I cried at her kitchen table over coffee one morning over the mounting work I was being overwhelmed with as wife, mother and now family caregiver. Eager to see if it would help, I logged in. I am so glad I did!

I scoured my parent’s house for medications, appointment cards, doctors’ names, numbers and addresses and uploaded them into eCare Vault. I finally had one place where I could keep everything and make notes for my dad to review later when he was feeling better. I also had a vehicle to communicate with in-home care professionals who would come to help my mom when I had to work.

I am happy to say that my dad has made a mostly full recovery. He is able to do a lot of the things he used to do but with a bit of weakness. We sat down and had a long talk about the future. Now, not only do I have my mom’s medical and personal information on eCare Vault but his as well. We both want the confidence of knowing I am prepared for when my aging mom needs care again and my dad when he needs it! The future looks more in control with eCare Vault.

 

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