You Got To Do What You Got To Do

Holidays and Being A Caregiver of your Parents

The end of the year also means the holidays and this can be a stressful time for being the caregiver of your parents. For some depression arises during the holidays because they can’t do what they have done in the past. Another problem that can rise up is that it can also be a sad time for your parent. If they have lost their spouse, a child, sibling or other family member the holidays can cause them to reflect on those losses.

The holidays can become stressful for you as the caregiver because you try to do more jobs than you would normally do. You try to prepare for the holidays for yourself and then you also try to help your parent prepare as well. This could mean taking them to the store to purchase gifts, help writing out cards, phone calls, text messages or other electronic greetings. You try to make it as normal as possible for them which means added work for you. If they are not capable of actively participating in the holidays you make take it on yourself to try to get them involved and remind them what the holidays are about.

During the holidays your parent can also become a little melancholy because they think of loved ones that have passed away and of earlier times. This would happen when I was caring for my mom, she would be sad during the holidays because she missed my dad. The way I handled this situation was to talk about the times we all had together. We would remember fun times with my dad and sisters and this would make my mom feel better. We would then talk about my sisters, her grandchildren and how soon she would see them and her great grandchildren. This would always turn the sadness into a happier situation. My mom was lucky because she had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. For those that don’t have any grandchildren or relatives it can be a challenging situation but as their caregiver you try your best to keep their spirits up so they do not get depressed.

The holidays can be a mix of emotions for your parents as you are caring for them. As their caregiver you know them best and how to handle the happy and sad times. Try to keep them involved with the events, if their health allows it and do your best not to let them feel forgotten. Also during this time, as their caregiver, don’t over do it and make yourself sick or get hurt. Take your time and be careful because you are no only caring for your parents you need to make sure you care for yourself.

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

When I Became A Caregiver Of My Parents

Most never give it a thought until the later years on “who” might take care of them. 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, on that day my life changed forever.

When this occurs you have very little time for discussion and you have to make the decision quick. Some want to become caregivers of their parents, some due to cultural reasons become caregivers and others have no choice and have to take care of their elderly parents. Also some parents do not want to go into assisted living and want to stay in their own home or with family.

I had no experience in being a caregiver. My father had a lung disease and when the disease turned into cancer it took it’s toll quickly. I started by lifting him out of bed and helping 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 caused him to be in and out of the hospital. I basically learned how to care for him while doing it.

A few years after my father passed away, my mom woke up one morning and said she could not stand. I became her caregiver and once again learned as we 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 always work for my mom. Just as before it was a constant learning experience and it continued until my mom passed away.

The hardest part for me was that it never stopped. I was on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If I wanted to take a break I would have to have someone stay with my mom. I would have to hire a caregiver to sit with her while I was gone. For me that was not an option because we did not have the money to hire someone to stay with her. Another problem was my mom did not like to have strangers in the house. It was a continuous job.

Being a caregiver also caused financial hardship. I had refinanced our home to cover expenses and also used credit cards. In fact I am still paying off the debt that I incurred while I was taking care of my mom even after I sold our house. 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, have no credit available or have no assets to sell.

Those of us in our 50’s and 60’s should use these examples to think about our future care.


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

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

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

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