BY:  Beverly Bernstein Joie, MS, CMC
         President Elder Connections

Care Manager and Adult Children Confront Change

When I visited one of my clients last month, I was stunned to see the huge change in his status. Although there had been a previous stroke some time ago, Mr. P took 20 minutes to answer the door. He was barely able to ambulate and there was apparently, an unplanned bowel event. He was confused and unable to communicate.  Mr. P implored me to leave him alone. That was not going to happen on my watch.

The children were immediately contacted and updated. I stayed with him for 3 hours throughtout the course of this event. I was stunned, called 911, and was relieved when his son arrived before the ambulance.

Elderly Client Discharged from the Hospital

After his hospitalization and a period of rehabilitation, Mr. P was set to return to his home. I met with the discharge planner. The plan of care included 24 hour monitoring, either at home or in an assisted living facility. He and his children received these orders in writing as well as did his primary care physician. This client was not happy; he was not hearing any of it.

Home Care from Elder Connections

Once at home, his physical condition stabilized; but, he was somewhat weaker and a tremendous fall risk. And still he railed against 24 hour care. His children began to cave. “Our dad has been independent all his life. This is not how he sees himself.” They asked that the Elder Connections’ caregiver report to them about his progress. They wanted to grant their Dad’s wishes. They wanted him to be happy and pleased with them. In response, we sent our clinical director to interview the caregiver and assess Mr. P.  Her report was clear. Our client required ongoing assistance to maintain him in his home.

The Senior’s Wish for Independence

I have never met any person who does not seek independence. Human beings are hard-wired for it and spend most of their lives working hard to attain it. Yet, many seniors create situations in the name of independence that can eliminate that independence in a heart beat. We all wanted the same things for Mr. P. We wanted him to stay in his gorgeous condominium – safely.

We provided his children with the facts and spent lots of time coaching them and helping them to see the reality before them. The jury is still out about whether they will follow the plan of care set before them by a host of professionals. Or will they acquiesce to their father’s wishes and continue to try and make him happy?

What would you do for your aging parent ?