You Got To Do What You Got To Do

Not Everyone Can Afford A Caregiver For An Elderly Parent

You see and hear advertising on television, radio, print and online that tell you the best options for the care of your elderly parent, such as this assisted care facility or caregiver service. In many ads celebrities tell you what options are best. They are all trying to sell you a facility or service and are those options what you or your parent truly want?

Assisted living centers are expensive and the cost varies depending on the type of care needed. This is a great option if you and your parent can afford the cost. But what if you do not have enough money to afford this type of care or your parent wants to stay in their home or with you?

You can hire a caregiver. This is great if you have the funds to hire an outside agency or and independent but what happens when the funds run out? When you hire a home care company they provide the care for your parent. You pay a fee and they take care of the rest. You can even hire a live-in caregiver. Once again this costs money and is expensive.

Some try for government assistance to help with the cost but what happens if you don’t qualify?

What if you can’t afford any of these services? Not everyone has the funds or assets available to afford an assisted living center or to hire a company to care for their parents in their home. Not everyone can afford a nurse, caregiver or health technician to visit daily to care for their parents on a daily basis. The average person is living paycheck to paycheck and just getting by. The additional expense can lead to financial disaster.

There are a lot of us that had no choice but to actually care for our parents. There is no money for any of the other options. For some they want to care for their elderly parents, for others it is a cultural issue to take care of their parents and this is being done on a daily basis by tens of thousands of people. They feed them, dress them, change the diapers, wash them and clean up the big messes. All without any fanfare or recognition.

Today caregiving is a big business because there are so many elderly parents that need care. Many senior associations have gotten on the bandwagon with advertisements, programs, seminars and referrals. Assisted living centers have become the new rage in elderly living. Home care companies have sprung up all over the country touting their special services. Celebrities advertise on television and radio talking about their caregiving experiences with their elderly parents. Books are being written every day about being a caregiver. There are so many so-called experts on this subject it can make your head spin. One thing to remember is that there is a lot more to being a caregiver of a parent than just feeding them dinner. Now don’t get me wrong all this information is good because it’s highlighting a problem that most people don’t consider. Taking care of an elderly parent is a ticking time bomb that most people ignore until it happens and then they rush to make a decision without considering all the options and pitfalls.

I know you are asking yourself about my book, “Aren’t you one of these so-called experts?” The answer to that question is, “yes,” but I believe there is a difference. My book is not written about someone else or did I have someone else do the work for me. I actually did all the work in taking care of my parents. Unfortunately, nobody wants to hear from or listen to an unknown person that actually did the work. That’s why my book is self edited and published, it is real life.

So when you see the commercials for assisted living centers, home care companies, celebrities talking about their caregiving experience or books about caring for elderly parents. Think about what category you might fall into and consider what your situation might be with your elderly parents. Talk to them and start a discussion about their future care, what options are best and what you can afford.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Colozzo
Author-“You Got To Do What You Got To Do”
www.takingcareofaparent.com

James Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2019 James Colozzo

To make a comment please email author@takingcareofaparent.com

Maintaining Privacy

We all take privacy for granted and it is not something you worry about. You take a shower or go to the bathroom, you close the door. You change your clothes, you do it behind closed doors. When you rely on someone to care for you, privacy is no longer taken for granted because, depending on the condition, it can be a safety issue.

Not only is privacy a concern for your parent it is for you too. One of the hardest things to do is to walk into a room and help your parent get dressed, help them with a bath or lift them off the toilet. It’s not just the loss of their privacy it is also hard for you to do because it’s your mom or dad and it’s embarrassing. Just remember it is more embarrassing for them because like most people they never thought they would ever be in this situation.
During the time I was caring for my parents I maintained as much privacy as possible. When my mom would receive phone calls from my sisters, family or friends I would leave the room so she could have some privacy. Once again you try to give them as much as a normal life as possible. All it means is stepping away and partially closing doors.

I also tried to give my mom as much privacy as I could with the normal routines. When she changed her clothes I would close the door most of the way but leave it open enough so I could hear her call. I would do the same when I put her in the shower chair. I would leave the bathroom and close the door part way. She would remove her dress and take her shower, dry herself off and put on another dress. She would call me and I would lift her out of the shower and put her in the wheelchair so she could finish, such as brushing her hair. In later years as she lost motor skills and balance I would have to do more, till finally I did everything. I did what I had to do.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Colozzo
Author-“You Got To Do What You Got To Do”
www.takingcareofaparent.com

James Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2019 James Colozzo

To make a comment please email author@takingcareofaparent.com

Maintaining Independence

Most people like their independence and the ability to take care of themselves. Parents are use to taking care of their children and being on their own. When they need help, it is hard for them to give up their independence and rely on others. Everyone wants to be independent and not rely on anyone for their everyday life.

When you start taking care of a parent, they feel that they have lost their independence. This reality hits them hard especially if they have to give up their drivers license. With a drivers license they had the freedom to go wherever and whenever they wanted. Through most of their entire life they had that feeling and once they no longer have a drivers license they feel that their freedom is gone.

Another situation is they have lived by themselves for a long period of time. They’ve grown accustom to doing things on their schedule and not someone else’s. They have their own routines, ways of doing certain things and no one tells them how to do it differently. When they move in with someone they feel that independence is gone.

As a caregiver that loss can become a burden on you because you have to try to keep them busy. You also will be the one to transport them from place to place because they probably will no longer be able to drive.

For my parents, one of the ways I tried to make them still feel active was to try to keep them engaged in their care. I would also always ask for their advice when I needed to make a decision. Whenever visitors came over I would do my best to keep my parents engaged in the conversation and make sure they were part of the discussion. This allowed them to voice their opinions and not feel like they were pushed off to the side.

They also kept some of their independence because I would let them help around the house. I would give my mom chores to do during the day such as folding clothes. It kept her busy and she felt she was helping me out. As always it depends on their condition but you need to do what you can to keep them involved. This makes them feel useful and they feel like they are not just letting the days pass by.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Colozzo
Author-“You Got To Do What You Got To Do”
www.takingcareofaparent.com

James Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2019 James Colozzo

To make a comment please email author@takingcareofaparent.com

Medicare & Insurance

Most senior citizens have Medicare and supplement insurance to cover their medical needs. These two items cover most medical and hospitalization situations. Some might wonder what is Medicare and why do you need supplement insurance?

Medicare is a government run insurance plan for senior citizens. It has a Part A, Hospitalization, Part B, Medical, Part C, Advantage and Part D, Prescriptions. When you reach a certain age, at this time 65, and you paid into the Social Security System, you are eligible for Medicare. For a small premium you receive Hospitalization, Part A and Medical, Part B coverage and the limits are 80% and 20%. Which means Medicare pays 80% of the approved charges and you pay the remaining 20%. Approved charges are what Medicare deems acceptable for the services provided. Also the medical facility has to have a contract with Medicare. This can cause problems because the facility might have a Medicare contract but the treating physician does not, then you are responsible for 100% of the physicians fees.

For some medical and hospitalization that 20% co-payment amount can be quite large. In order to help with that co-payment some people purchase supplemental insurance. This covers the 20% co-payment that Medicare does not cover. Some of these supplemental policies might cover services that Medicare does not cover as well as prescriptions.

Basic Medicare does not cover prescriptions so you have to purchase Medicare Part D to cover your prescription expense. There are numerous plans and deductibles that have a wide variety of options. Some supplemental insurance plans do offer prescription coverage.

There are some Medicare plans, Part C, that cover 100% of the medical, hospitalization and offer prescription coverage. These plans also use your Medicare premium for the insurance coverage. These plans Medicare Advantage and the way they reduce costs is that they are usually an HMO, Health Maintenance Organization, or they limit what doctors and facilities you can use. For a higher premium you can opt for a different plan, such as a PPO, Preferred Provider Organization or indemnity plan and use the doctor or facility of your choice.

Medicare and Supplement Insurance has become a huge business and thousands of people have made careers out of trying to understand the rules of the game. It is a game because one day a service, procedure or item is approved and the next day it is not. It is a bureaucratic system that has special codes for billing and is usually a nightmare for the individual. As the health insurance system changes it seem trying to understand Medicare gets worse. Who knows what the future will bring.

With all this information what do you do? The good news is that if your parents have original Medicare and a supplement insurance or Medicare Advantage it does make the insurance process and financial burden a little easier. You should be able to take them to the doctor, medical facility or hospital and not have to worry about receiving huge bills. Depending on the billing department and the insurance handling the claims you might have to spend a lot of time on the phone trying to get certain billing matters corrected. Before you can do this you have to have your parent authorize you to talk on their behalf with Medicare and the insurance. Some companies have a form you can fill out and others have your parent do a phone interview that authorizes you to talk on their behalf. This is dictated by HIPAA, The Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act.

If your parent only has original Medicare that only covers 80% of the approved charges you could be in store for some very large medical bills. There is no way to know how expensive medical care will be in the coming day, months or years. If you have money saved or assets you can sell, it might not be a problem but depending on your parents medical condition it might become one.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Colozzo
Author-“You Got To Do What You Got To Do”
www.takingcareofaparent.com

James Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2019 James Colozzo

To make a comment please email author@takingcareofaparent.com

Daily Routines

One of the best ways to keep your elderly parent busy, alert and engaged is to have a daily schedule or routine. This could part of their daily hygiene or helping with tasks around the house. It can help them retain whatever motor skills they have and keep their mind alert because they have to think. After a short time they will get use to the schedule or daily routine and it will also give them the feeling they are helping because it makes them feel useful.

It depends on your parents condition on what type of a daily schedule or routine you will maintain. With my mom she was not able to get herself out of bed, so in the morning I would wake her, give her the morning medication and she would watch the morning news. I would then lift her out of bed and put her in the bathroom. She would do what she needed to do, call me and I would lift her into the wheelchair. I would then wheel her to the table and we would have a breakfast lunch combo. We would then do our errands or appointments. If none were scheduled she would do her chores, such as folding clothes. In the afternoon she would have a snack, I’d give her the afternoon medication and then a little later put her back in bed so she could rest for a while. Later I would lift her out of bed into the wheelchair and roll her into the living room. She would watch baseball or the news while I made dinner. When she still had some dexterity in her hands, I’d let her help by sorting out vegetables or getting some of the ingredients ready. After dinner I would clean up and do dishes while she watched television. When I was finished we would sit and talk, play board games or cards. It all helped to keep her thinking and it forced her to use her mind.

About two hours later I would get her bed ready and lift her into it. I would give her the evening medication and she would relax watching television or listen to music. She would fall asleep a few hours later and we would start the same routine over the next day.

This routine evolved over years because of her condition. In the beginning she was able to care more for herself and needed less help with hygiene. As her condition worsened she would no longer be able to do certain tasks so that meant I had to do them for her. She tried her best to do as much as she could so she didn’t feel useless or a burden to me. As time went on she did become a little frustrated because she was not able to do as much and needed more help. It was a system that worked very well for us for over 13 years. In fact our routine lasted until about 2 weeks before she passed away.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Colozzo
Author-“You Got To Do What You Got To Do”
www.takingcareofaparent.com

James Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2018 James Colozzo

To make a comment please email author@takingcareofaparent.com

Taking Care Of Elderly Parents

I’m James Colozzo the author of “You Got To Do What You Got To Do,” My Experience As A Caregiver Taking Care Of My Parents For Over Twenty Years. This is my first blog post and I would like to discuss taking care of elderly parents. This topic affects adults with living parents because most people have not planned ahead and that’s why I say it’s “A Challenge For Baby Boomers To Millennials.”

The older generation struggled and lived paycheck to paycheck to provide for the family. They never heard of long term care insurance and even if it was available there was not enough money left over to cover the monthly premium. Most never gave it a thought until the later years on “who” might take care of them. They thought that Medicare would cover these expenses and that is true for most medical and hospitalization but not for personal care. This decision, most of the time, is made after an emergency such as a stroke or heart attack. In the hospital you have to make this decision in a matter of a few hours or days.

In my situation, my mother woke up one morning and yelled she couldn’t get out of bed because she had no strength in her legs. On that day my life changed forever. From that day forward she needed 24 hour a day care, 7 days a week. She needed to be lifted to and from bed, the bathroom, the shower, the wheelchair. She could no longer be left alone and needed help with a lot of the tasks we take for granted. I started taking care of her full time because I made I promise to my father when he was ill. I just never thought it would happen so fast. When this occurs you have very little time for discussion and you have to make the decision quick.

We always want to be prepared for life’s events but unfortunately most of the time we are not prepared for this situation. Some want to become caregivers of their parents, others have no choice and have to take care of their elderly parents. That’s one of the reasons I wrote “You Got To Do What You Got To Do” is to let people know how much work is involved before they take on this enormous responsibility and how it will probably change their life.

I had no experience in being a caregiver. My father was diagnosed with a lung disease in the 1970’s. We knew this disease would progress and make his life difficult. He was a strong man and he fought this disease until the early 90’s. I have two sisters but they had families and careers. This kept them extremely busy and I felt it would not be fair to them to interrupt their family life. Since I was single and had my own business, I decided that I would take care of our dad. When his lung disease turned into cancer it took its toll quickly. I detail in the book how I started to lift him out of bed and help him around the house. This was basic care but as time went on it became more detailed such as washing, shaving and more. His disease advanced and he was in and out of the hospital. I basically learned how to care for him while doing it. The hospital, at that time, did not offer much in the form of advice for a caregiver. He died in 1995.

In 1999 my mom woke up and said she could not stand. I detail in the book how it is different for a son taking care of his mom versus his father. I had to do things that I thought I never would have to do. Once again I learned as I went along because this is a situation where everyone is different and what you learn about one might not work with another. What worked for my dad didn’t work for my mom.

In my book I give you an idea of how much work is involved, the burden and responsibility. It was a learning experience and it continued until my mom passed away. In fact I was still learning about the effects to my life even after she passed away.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Colozzo
Author-"You Got To Do What You Got To Do"
www.takingcareofaparent.com

James Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2018 James Colozzo

To make a comment to the author, please email author@takingcareofaparent.com