I’ve never had to care for an ailing parent. Never had to check them into a nursing home, never had to arrange for hospice care and never had to act as a guardian for the two people that raised me. I hope I never have to, but I know someday it will come down to me, my brother or sister having to make decisions for the very people we thought were going to live forever.I watched my dad deal with this when his father passed away suddenly almost 20 years ago. All of a sudden he had a mom, my grandma, who was so used to living with someone else that she really couldn’t handle the pressure of being by herself after so many years of being half of a whole. I can’t imagine the responsibility he faced, can’t imagine the issues he had to deal with when his sister argued with him about proper care and can’t fathom what it was like for my grandma to be by herself.
My parents are still in good health (hell, they’re only 61) so I don’t plan on having to deal with this for a while, but I have plenty of friends that are being thrust into this. I want to help, but I just don’t know how besides offering my time and shoulder.
I’d like to do more and I’d like to be able to point them in a direction for them to obtain more help, whether for themselves, their spouse or the surviving parent. Where do you show them to? Who do you ask for help when having to deal with this? Do hospitals have people? What about the emotional toll?
You’d think there’d be books and clubs and groups and forums and places for people to go to talk about these kind of things. Help me out here. Where would you go? What would you do? Who would you ask?