You Got To Do What You Got To Do

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 comments@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 comments@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 comments@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 comments@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 comments@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 comments@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 comments@takingcareofaparent.com