You Got To Do What You Got To Do

November is National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month which means this is a good time to discuss the options available for your elderly parents long term care.

Don’t wait for an “emergency” such as a heart attack or stroke to decide what to do when your parents need long term care. When this happens you have to make the decision quick, usually in a few days, which doesn’t give you much time to decide what is best for your parent or yourself. Remember insurance does not cover everything which also means there could be a huge financial expense for you or your parents.

This is a good time to discuss with your parents what they want and need for their long term care needs. You need to find out if they have a plan for who is going to care for them such as assisted living, a private caregiver, staying in their own home, etc. or they might think that you might become their caregiver and want to move in with you in the later years. This all needs to be discussed before the “emergency” happens. You need to decide if you can become a caregiver due to the enormous amount of work and time that is involved. Becoming a caregiver is a life changing experience and can alter your lifestyle in many ways. If you have a family it can put more pressure on you as you try to care for children and your parents.

Financial pressure is also a major concern especially if your parents have little or no assets. Medicare, supplement insurance and long term care insurance does not cover everything, so some expenses will have to come out of your parents pocket or yours if they have no money. Another financial consideration is that if they have assets, what happens if they live longer and the money runs out, who makes up the difference? Where do they live if they no longer can afford assisted living? Financial aid programs might be available but what happens if they don’t qualify?

There are many questions that need to be considered when planning your parents long term care. That is why they need to be discussed before your parents have an “emergency” so you can learn what options are best for them and yourself. Since November is National Family Caregivers Month, this is a good reminder to start the discussion so you can be prepared for the “emergency” and not be blind sided by all the details that need a decision in a short time.

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

A Topic Not Discussed

Some want to become caregivers and others it is a cultural issue to take care of their parents. Many others have no choice but to actually care for their parents. There is no money for any of the other options. 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.

Most advertising about caring for a parent is supported by senior associations, assisted living center and home care agencies telling you what you should do. They hire celebrities to talk about what they did and how they know what’s best for the rest of us. Why do they know best, because they are famous, got paid for the advertising or they can afford other options? Did they actually do the work to care for their parent? Celebrities talk about being a caregiver. I don’t want to be mean but do they actually change the diapers, give their parent a bath, clean them after a bad bowel movement? Or did they hire a nurse, caregiver or personal tech to do those jobs. I’m sure some have actually done some of the work but most because of their position probably can hire someone to do the disgusting jobs.

That is one of the reasons I wrote my book because no one represents the average person. With the senior associations you have no credibility because you have no verified credentials and are not part of the establishment. It is so hard for an unknown that has actually done the work to get their point across. That’s why my book is self published and self marketed. I could not get anyone to listen to my story even though it is a challenge that is happening everyday in tens of thousands of homes. Most associations and media organizations are not interested in regular people. I have contacted hundreds of media outlets and have had success with a few that thought my story was interesting enough to their viewers. For those television stations I am extremely grateful. Others have absolutely no interest or want you to pay to get access to their television shows. If I was famous or a celebrity I would be on television and radio stations across the country even if I didn’t do the work to care for my parents. But being an average person, you don’t get the time of day.

Well I’ve done the job and I feel I did it very well, just look at the result. My mom was not expected to survive long after her spine surgery and she did. She lasted 13 years longer than expected and was able to see her great grandchildren and be a part of their lives. That was because of the care she received and I was the one that gave her that care.

My goal is to inform as many people as possible of the real life challenge that might be ahead of them. I know the paperback is expensive and the book is not a great literary work but it is real life. It contains a lot of useful information that might help you in deciding to care for an elderly parent. The book details the burden and the enormous responsibility of being a caregiver. It is written by an average person that actually did all the work.

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

Elderly Care Options

There are several options available for taking care of your elderly parents.

One is to put them into an assisted living facility. This is probably the most expensive option but it is also the least physical burden for the children. Your parents can start in an assisted living facility where they need little care and move to different parts of the facility as they need more care. The more services they need requires more expense. This can be paid by long term care insurance, the use of their retirement benefits and social security, the sale of a home or other assets, you making a monthly payment or some other financial arrangement. Most of the care is done by your parent until they need the staff to provide care.

A problem can arise when the money runs out and your parent or you can no longer afford the cost of care. Long Term Care Insurance usually sets a daily limit and anything over that limit come out of your parents pocket or your wallet.

If they want to remain in their home another option is home care and you hire a caregiver to come in and help them with their daily routines. This option is also very popular because others actually perform the care on your parent. Mom and dad stay in their home and a caregiver comes in on a daily basis to perform the care they need. Live in caregivers are also available but that is an expensive option. The cost can be paid by Long Term Care Insurance, Retirement and Social Security Benefits, Supplemental Insurance Benefits and depending on their condition, maybe Medicare. The other payment option is the sale of some assets, reverse mortgage, home equity loan or some other financial options. There is always the possibility that you might have to make some sort of payment to cover these services.

Once again a problem can arise when the money runs out and your parent or you can no longer afford the cost of care. Long Term Care Insurance, Supplemental Insurance and Medicare usually sets a daily limit and anything over that limit come out of your parents pocket or your wallet. If their condition worsens will their be benefits available to put your parents into an assisted living center. Will you be able to sell or borrow on their home to cover expenses?

Depending on how grave the condition, hospice care might be an option for end of life care. This seems to be a new way of taking care of the elderly. Before hospice was only for end of life care when there was no hope of recovery. More and more I am seeing people being put on hospice care when there is not an end of life concern. I’ve seen people put on hospice for Alzheimers disease, dementia and cancers when the patients had the will and wanted to fight the disease to get more time. Most of the time is was because the family did not know or want to care for the parent. They were looking for an easy way out

The option I chose was to become the caregiver. This might happen if your parents are living with you or neither of you can afford the other options. Cultural reason can also be another reason why some become caregivers of their parents. I decided I was going to care for my elderly parents because I was single and self employed. I was living with them and I felt it was my duty to care for them. My sisters had families and careers and I felt it was night right for the care of our parents to interfere with their lives. We also could not afford any of the other options. Long Term care insurance was never purchased, Medicare and Supplemental insurance covered very little as far as home care but they did cover the medical expense and some medical equipment. My shock was how fast it happened and how much work was involved. I had to do thing I never thought I could or would do. I tried to plan ahead but I had no idea what I was going to be involved. It became a full time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job. It consumed my entire life and has affected me even today. I am still in the process of trying to rebuild my life after my mom passed away. It was definitely a life changing experience.

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

Advice From Others

Over the years of taking care of my mom we came in contact with many so-called caregiving experts. Every time she was in the hospital someone would visit and tell us what was best or what we needed. The one thing that was common with all these so-called experts was that none of them had ever cared for a parent. The way I found out was I asked them directly if they ever took care of a parent. The answer was always the same, “No.” You are always told this is the best way to do this or that and when you listen to some of this advice you ask yourself, “Would I want to be treated like that?” Most of the time the answer is, “No,” and you realized the advice you have received made no sense. I started asking some people when they gave advice that I thought was ridiculous, “Would you do that to your mom?” Most of the time they would not answer the question and say, “I’m not in that situation,” or “I’ll deal with it when it happens,” or my favorite, “my mom is different.” Everyone’s situation is different so there is not a “one size fits all” mentality when it comes to being a caregiver. What works for someone else might not work for you. There are a lot of guides that tell you what is the best technique for many situations. There are also a lot of people that will offer advice on anything that you do.

During the course I was a caregiver I received a lot of advice. It came from doctors, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, home health nurses, rehabilitation specialists, lab technicians, pulmonary technicians, pharmacists, hospital social workers, dietitians, nutritionist and many others. If any healthcare professional gives you advice it is because they have seen numerous incidents of how people take care of a parent. Advice also came from friends and family. I always listened and asked myself if this advice would work in our situation. A lot of times it didn’t, but on the few occasions that it did, it made a difference in the way I was taking care of my mom and dad.

There is no harm in asking for advice because it might help you with your caregiving duties. Any advice that can make things better for your parent and easier for you can go a long way into maintaining the quality of life for both of you. One thing to remember is that because every situation is different, the book is still being written on how to be a caregiver and it will never be finished.

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

Doctors & Other Medical Professionals

The most important person you need when you are a caregiver is the doctor. They are there for your parent as well as you and can make life easier or harder for both of you. You need a doctor that will work with you instead of against you. Now this might have change due to The Affordable Care Act. When I was a caregiver Obamacare had not been implemented so I don’t know if any changes have happened to the way doctors work with patients and caregivers. The other change that we experienced was HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law took medical privacy to the extreme and it made it a little more difficult to deal with some healthcare professionals. It was not impossible but it meant a lot more paperwork and a little more effort on your part.

My parents were raised to always show a doctor respect and this was due to the reason they were considered a professional and that they went to college. I was taught that a doctor was just like any other professional trade with the exception that they went to school for a very long time. In my parents day whatever the doctor said was law and you didn’t question him for any reason. In my day it is perfectly normal and expected to ask the doctor questions and verify their diagnoses. Years ago second opinions were never considered and not a normal procedure. Times change, sometime for the better, and I think this is definitely a change for the better.

A lot of people complain that doctors never listen to what they say. They have set answers and responses to all situations. There is a simple solution to this problem, tell the doctor what you need. One thing you to remember about doctors is that they work for the patient. Yes, they are either self employed, work for a medical group or are on staff at a hospital but the patient is their customer. Some say the customer is Medicare, the insurance company or now the government but it is the patient’s life. If you are responsible for the day to day care of your parent that means technically they also work for you. Medicare, insurance or the government might pay all or part of the bills but it is still your parent’s life and that is your only concern.

A lot of doctors get frustrated when they are talking to an elderly person. These doctors are always busy and sometimes they talk soft and fast. A lot of elderly have a hard time hearing what the doctor is trying to tell them and they force the doctor to keep repeating what they say. When your in the room with your parent the doctor will start talking to you and bypass talking to your parent. This can cause a problem because your parent wants the doctor to talk to them.

Unfortunately today's doctors have to see many patients to sustain their practice or the medical group. With all the changes that are happening in the healthcare industry in only looks like it’s going to get worse. Physicians spend less and less time with their patients because quantity has become a priority.

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

Elder Abuse

Unfortunately elder abuse is a big problem and health providers are required by law to report it to the proper authorities. In recent years doctors offices, outpatient facilities, labs and other healthcare offices are required to check all patients for abnormal bruising. They also ask the patient questions to see if they are being taken care of properly. This world is a crazy place and there are a lot of elderly people abused and a lot of them are taken advantage of by “so-called loved ones.”

Being a caregiver also means that you are under a microscope. You need to be at your best so your parent is cared for properly. Make sure they are clean, well nourished, safe and that their medications are taken properly. Be aware of any bruises, skin ulcers and bed sores because as people age their skin becomes thin. So even a simple bruise could be cause for suspicion to a doctor, nurse or other medical professional. The care you give your parent is checked every time you go to the doctor or to a medical facility. If your parent has an emergency and is taken to the hospital they are given a full body inspection when they are admitted. By law in many states, medical professionals have to report any findings of suspected abuse and an investigation will be started. Anyone with a conscience should be shocked to see how many parents are neglected by their children. I was amazed when a community college instructor at a hospital told me that a lot of elderly patients showed some signs of abuse or neglect. She told me that a lot of the elderly patients her students saw in the hospital were neglected. Some were physically abused, a lot were malnourished and not clean. Many cases of elder abuse are committed by the patient’s children or caregivers.

Elder abuse not only occurs at home, it can also happen in assisted living, rehabilitation, hospitals and other medical facilities. Paid caregivers, both individuals and those working for companies have also been the cause of elder abuse as well as other medical professionals. Unfortunately, as a family member you are more scrutinized than the others because the professionals have lawyers, companies, associations, and government agencies behind them. You on the other hand, are on your own, so be cautious, aware and careful while you are a caregiver because you are responsible for everything you 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

Caregiving-A Constant Learning Experience

Being a caregiver is an on going learning experience and the education does not stop until you are no longer caring for your parent. The medical field and caregiving is changing daily so you will never know everything. New technologies and procedures are making a huge difference in the quality of care. Knowing what to do is the result of learning whatever you can.

When I was taking care of my dad it seemed that everyday was a unique challenge. I was in uncharted territory and everything was new and a learning experience. My father’s situation, when he became seriously ill, proceeded rapidly and he passed away within six months of his worsening condition. I learned a lot in a short time. With my mom it was over thirteen years of unique challenges and situations. It seemed whenever we went to the doctor or she had a diagnostic test there was a new challenge ahead. I was learning as I was going along.

No matter what you have been taught or what you have read you will always be learning when you are taking care of your parent. Depending on your parents condition and the diagnosis, new procedures might be able to help you. What you do today might not be what you do tomorrow. The same goes with your daily routines, what you have done for many months might change because you learn to do something different that makes it easier and/or better for your parent. Anything that can help you with your daily tasks should always be welcomed.

Not only is it a learning experience for you but it is also for your parent. They are also learning because probably this is the first time someone has had to take care of them since they were a child. Things that they did for themselves for years now have to be handled by someone else. Routines that were normal and they took for granted have to be carried out by you so they can go on with their daily life. That might be hard to get use to so they are learning how to cope with the situation. That is another reason why you need to put yourself in their shoes because it would probably be hard for you if you were in the same situation.

As things change while you are a caregiver the more you learn, the more you can adapt means the more you can do. Caregiving is not an exact profession because it is different for each person that you are caring for. It is also a job that is a constantly revolving process. You will know your parent so well that you will be able to notice every little change and you will adapt your care to deal with it. It is a continuing learning experience that will last as long as you are caring for them.

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

You Know Your Parent

No one knows your parent better than you during the time you are taking care of them. As that care continues you will notice even more. This comes in very handy when you have to tell their condition to a doctor. They forget a lot and it will be up to you to tell the doctors of certain problems and conditions.

I knew things about them that they didn’t know themselves such as sleeping and eating habits. Over the years of taking care of them I knew how certain medications would affect them and how we could counteract it. I knew what they could tolerate and what made them sick. I probably knew them better than I knew myself.

This knowledge comes from the day to day care of your parent. You will learn all their quirks and mannerisms if you already don’t know what they are. You will be able to tell a reaction before there is an action and you will know the result before something starts. All this information will go a long way in helping your doctors diagnose and treat your parent. It will also go a long way in helping you care for your parents.

Being a caregiver to your parent puts you in a unique position as far as their medical condition. You see everything that they do, how they react and how something affects them. When you take them to the doctors or hospital you are their eyes, ears and nose.

You know their conditions like a book and you can relay that information to the doctor. You know how certain treatments affect their condition and how they react. Certain medications might cause an adverse reaction and you are the first one that will notice and you can relay this information to the doctor. You know everything about them and you can relay this information to any medical professional that needs it. A lot of times the elderly don’t understand or hear what they are being told by a doctor and that can cause problems during their treatment. Many times when I was taking care of my dad and mom they would hear something completely different from what the doctor was actually saying. Sometimes they didn’t hear or understand the problem or treatment and it was good that I was in the room because I heard everything the doctor said. It all depends on your parents condition and how much they are still involved in their healthcare but you become their safety net. If they are confused about a treatment or medication you can discuss it with them and call the doctor for verification.

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 comment, please email author@takingcareofaparent.com

Effects Of Caring For Elderly Parents

Caring for an elderly parent will affect your life. Being a caregiver can be a part time situation or a full time job. Your life will be altered during the time you are providing care and for some the effects will go on for years after the care ends.

The hardest part for me was that it never stopped. I was on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week. My mom needed to have someone with her at all times, but we didn’t have the money to hire another caregiver and my mom did not like to have strangers in the house. So I would have one of my sisters stay with her so I could go shopping and do other errands. Even though I was not at the house I knew I had things to do when I got back so it was really wasn’t a break. It was a continuous job. Our doctor always told me to take a break, but that was easier said than done.

There are financial effects while taking care of a parent. Most people think insurance covers everything and with my parents’ insurance that was not true. Insurance covered the medical, hospitalization and some equipment but it did not cover the personal items needed. One of the biggest expenses is incontinence supplies and that was not covered. You're changing diapers many times a day and they are not cheap. That is a cost that adds up.

I was lucky I was able to sell assets to cover some of the debt. Today a lot of people have no equity in their home are maxed out on the credit cards or have no assets to sell. That’s another reason why I believe this is a ticking time bomb for most adults. It doesn’t matter the age, they have no idea about the cost of personal care. Some think they or their parents have it all planned out but when the time comes they might find out differently. That’s why you need to discuss this with your parents.

The aftermath of being a caregiver varies because everyone’s situation is different. For me it changed my life. Finding a job has been difficult because caring for an elderly parent is not considered recent employment. After 20 years of taking care of my parents I am now starting over.


I want you to know, if you decide to become a caregiver of a parent, it will be a life changing decision. After saying that I would not hesitate to make the same decision again. I am proud that I took care of my parents and I did my best. Because of that care my mom lived to over 92 years old, was able to see her great grandchildren and be a part of their lives. I also kept a promise to my dad.

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 comment, please email author@takingcareofaparent.com