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It’s hard to know what you don’t know.

I received a call this week from a friend of a friend.  “Marlena, I need your help,” I could hear the stress and tears in her voice.

“Of course, what can I do?”

“It’s my dad, he has been in the hospital, and they just told me he has to leave.  They said he needs 24-hour care, and I need to find it in 48 hours.  I don’t know what to do.”

It was difficult to hear the distress in her voice, and at the same time, I was glad that she called and that I had resources to help.

So many people don’t understand the world of senior care, especially when their loved one’s health begins to fail.  It is hard to know what you don’t know.  Making decisions for your parent is difficult; it becomes more challenging when there is a time crunch coupled with not knowing all the options that are available.

Deciphering the complexity of senior care can be overwhelming due to its presentation in a code that doesn’t come with an answer key.  For example, IL, AL, home care, SNF, care suites, and residential homes are all part of the jargon describing senior care.

I offered to sit down with my friend and her family and explained what the abbreviations mean.  I stressed that the most significant factor should be what the care needs are for their father and how to pick the best care him. While we sat, I learned all about their father.  He loves to do little tricks and make people laugh. He can be a little ornery, especially if people are bossy.  He likes choices and didn’t choose to get sick.  The care needs had become significant, and his needs were around the clock.   After the discussion, my takeaways were that they wanted their dad to get the best care and that he was very loved.

The family took the night to think things through, and I felt honored that they chose to move him into one of our homes.  It is a huge responsibility to take care of a family’s precious member.  As we were finishing the details of the move, I said to my friend, “Thank you for trusting us to care for your dad.”

With big tears in her eyes, she said, “No, thank you.  You have made this so much easier for all of us, and we feel at peace with our decision.  I slept the best I have in months knowing that dad is going to be here.  You are a lifesaver.”

After a big hug, I finished up the paperwork.  I couldn’t stop smiling,  I love that I get to do what I love to do every day!  Please let me know what you think, feel free to comment, ask questions, and let me know how I’m doing.  Warmly yours ~ Marlena

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