Elderly Parent Care Coach Helps Adult Children


The following is a guest post by Rhonda Caudell RN, CCM, CGCM, Elderly Parent Care Coach who can be found at www.EndlessLegacy.com.

Following years of caring for medical needs of seniors, being a caregiver for parents and grandparents, I am now a boomer realizing my friends are totally lost and in the dark about caring for elderly parents.åÊ My friends, like many other adults are:

Overwhelmed with medical jargon overload, or with the total lack of information from medical providers.åÊ

Stressed due to important decisions needed quickly about medical and non medical care providers, safety in the home environment, money sources, transportation needs, end of life issues…the list goes on.

Distracted with their work/career due to added responsibilities of aging parents.

Guilty and angry because of added responsibilities for parents’ needs, long term dysfunctional parent-child relationship, and arguments among siblings.

I have seen looks of pain, confusion, dread, and fear in the faces of many smart, educated, very capable people. The main problem:

There is no model‰Û_no pattern‰Û_no instruction booklet to follow.

To compound this main problem, one can rest assured; your kids are watching you as you care for your elderly parents!åÊ

You become their model‰Û_their pattern‰Û_their ‰Û÷how to‰Ûª instructions.

For the sake of families, and leaving a legacy worth repeating and remembering, I chose to be a more informed, less stressed, anger-free, loving caregiver of my elderly parent.

The definition of coach is simply to give instructions and advice‰Û_To be an educator, teacher, trainer, mentor, tutor‰Û_

With the proper coaching and skill sets for their specific circumstances, adults in their existing or potential care giving journey can gain:

  • confidence
  • clarityåÊ
  • answers to questionsåÊ
  • optionsåÊ
  • wins

I am sure you realize, every family is different and has different problems and needs.åÊ I want to give you a sampling of what an elderly parent care coach can do for you, or teach you to do:

1) Explain and answer medical condition questions, assist in formulating questions for physicians and help to interpret the responses.

2) Offer instructions in how to effectively communicate with different health care professionals and how to advocate for your parent.

3) Identify options for medication management, transportation needs, social needs.

4) Communicate with parents to achieve different outcomes.

5) Teach home safety tips and other check lists.

6) Teach crisis prevention skills, thereby avoiding some hospitalizations.

7) Determine ways to manage care from a distance, and locate referrals with specific expertise.

I want to conclude with a summary of a story of how a well informed, confident, guided caregiver gained a big win. I will call this woman Dora, and her loved one Bob. Bob had been diagnosed a few years ago with dementia and was told how the disease would progress. Over time as Bob digressed physically and mentally, Dora chose to be well informed and begin to conduct research on her own‰Û_talked to others caring for loved ones in a similar situation‰Û_consulted with other professionals.åÊ Through her connections, she ultimately learned about NPH (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus). Basically this is “water on the brain”, and leads to brain swelling. One of the symptoms required to be diagnosed with NPH is a change in walking pattern to the feet being wider apart, shuffling, and unsteadiness. This can also be a characteristic in people with progressive dementia.åÊ

Dora ultimately convinced the doctor to test Bob for NPH, which was positive, and he underwent surgery for NPH. Following a brief period, his gait improved drastically. Dora and Bob are thankful and hopeful that some of his memory loss will also improve.åÊ

I caution the readers that many medical facts and details are omitted in this story. This scenario does not apply to everyone with the same symptoms. For more details on NPH, refer to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/.

My point is evident however. In this real story, Dora gained new skills, new knowledge, confidence to make changes in the care of her loved one, which generated some remarkable results.åÊ

I encourage you to evaluate your care giving experience and consider who is watching your model or pattern. Make a choice to create an elderly parent care process that leaves a desired and duplicable pattern for those watching.

To meet Rhonda Caudell and learn more, click this link: www.endlesslegacy.com/elderparentcoach