Are You Ready for Aging Parents?

companion home care affordable home care elder care in Minnesota eldelry home assistance help for senior caregivers home care services for seniors home help for the elderly in home care MinneapolisAre you ready for the journey of having aging parents? As someone working in the senior care industry, I was ready, at least as much as anyone could be. When you are young, you get accustomed to seeing your parents making all the decisions, and you don’t think about the day when they may need you to help them. It truly is the case that as we age, we lose sight of our own limitations and sometimes fail to make the best choices for ourselves. Although my mother’s body was wracked with rheumatoid arthritis—her fingers and toes crooked, her back so bad she needed a cane—in her mind, she was Wonder Woman until the day she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

This phenomena isn’t isolated to my mother—how many clients have we had who say things like, “Canes are for old people” as they grab onto furniture to walk about their house? How many clients have we had who say, “I don’t need help around the house!” as paperwork piles up on the table and dust piles up on the knick-knacks.

Unfortunately, my journey with the aging process was cut short by the early deaths of my parents—my mother at the age of 63 from lung cancer and my father at the age of 65 from COPD (another lesson learned from working in the senior care industry: smoking doesn’t do anyone any favors). As my family walked the journey, however, from assisted living to hospice, we pulled many lessons from the pages of Caregiving Companion to help us along. Here are four articles from the pages of our blog that immeasurably helped my family and will likely help yours.



My mother always acted like she was invincible. From working in the senior care industry, however, I knew the risk of falls. Famous people who have died as a result of falls include Ann B. Davis, Diane Disney-Miller, Robert Culp, and Kurt Vonnegut. For a senior, the risk of falls is nothing to treat lightly.

Ultimately, falling is preventable. With my parents, it meant that I was constantly clearing toys and children’s shoes from walkways when grandkids were present. I was proactive in shoveling and salting walkways to make sure my mom was not taking unnecessary risks, and whenever there was freezing rain, I tried to influence her to cancel her volunteer work to avoid the risk of slipping on the ice.

This article and the phrase, “I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Stay Home,” stuck with me as I worked to help my parents prevent falls.

Help!  I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Stay Home!


Avoiding Re-hospitalization

Unfortunately, this article came too late for my dad, who was yo-yoing in and out of the hospital because of a lack of coordinated effort. One doctor would put him on a medication, another doctor would take him off the medication, the emergency doctor would put him on a different medication, and his assisted living facility didn’t do a great job of ensuring he was taking any of them. And it was a cycle, so this process was repeating itself.

In hindsight, somebody needed to be involved earlier to ensure there was a coordinated effort among doctors. This article on avoiding hospital readmission would have made a tremendous difference had I read it sooner.

Help for Senior Caregivers:  How to Avoid Hospital Readmission


affordable home care assisted home care at home caregivers care for older people home care companies in Minnesota home care services for seniors senior citizen care taking care of elderly parentsHospital Stays

When my mother was admitted to the hospital while determining a course of action for her lung cancer, I was overwhelmed in every imaginable way. I was talking on the phone with Julie, who wrote the following article, and she said, “Find out what her admission status is!” I had known all about the difference between Observation Status and Inpatient Status, but in the deluge of information that comes with having a parent with cancer, I had forgotten. Upon follow up with the hospital social worker, I got the impression that she was not aware of the difference between the two statuses and how that would affect the out-of-pocket cost for my mother’s care. The result was a change in the discussion about when my mom would be discharged, no doubt because they were now conscientious of the need for a three-day hospital stay.

A Hospital Classification That Could Cost Seniors Thousands


What is Hospice About?

Everyone should understand the basics of hospice before the need arises for it. Hospice is an emotional trigger word because it’s about the death of people we love; however, understanding what it is before you ever face the need for it will bring comfort when the time does arrive.

As stated in the article linked below, people can graduate from hospice, and my father did just that. I am convinced that hospice prolonged his life because it provided him with a weekly nurse, new breathing equipment, and a change in medications. Plus, there was always someone to call with questions or concerns about his care. The focus was not on his dying but on providing comfort, and the family had access to a support team as needed.

Hospice Care—Living While Dying  

Over the years, we’ve worked hard to make Caregiving Companion a useful resource to those who are taking care of elderly parents. If you are facing a challenge as your parents age, we hope you’ll find our collection of articles useful.


                                                                                                                        Jim Miles, MBA


                                                                                                                        July 10, 2015



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