“I don’t know what I need!” My mom just got released this morning from the hospital after COVID and all I know is that I’m standing here trying to figure out how to change her diaper! Can you send someone now?!”-40 year old son in a panic on the phone with me on a Friday night asking for help.
As I went thru a typical discovery to learn more about his mom, I learned she was on hospice but he didn’t know why. Her diagnosis, dementia but he didn’t know she had that either. Every other question was answered with “I don’t know, I need you to tell me what she needs!”
In a non COVID world, we may have been able to send a nurse out for an assessment and provide this son with peace of mind that he would not also have to figure out giving his mother a shower by himself as well!
Getting last-minute help for your parents or loved one during Omicron or COVID in general is going to be very difficult right now for many reasons.
One, the virus itself requires certain measures prior to being able to service clients. Also, some very detailed information on dates tested, vaccination status, when were the last symptoms, etc…
Two, historical staffing shortages in healthcare and caregivers themselves getting COVID or having a family member that needs care from the virus.
When the hospital is ready to discharge a patient, there not much time from when the decision is made and when that patient is out the door. Your family member is very likely to need hands-on assistance in their home and you will be the one responsible for either giving that care or providing that care through someone else. Being proactive and planning for situations like this that may arise during your parents senior years will cause much less chaos in your own life and your own families lives.
Go find out if your parents have any major diagnoses. Go find out how they feel about the vaccines and if they’ve had them. Encourage them to let you know if they are having any symptoms. Go find out what medications they are currently taking. Where do your parents keep their medical information? Who is their doctor? Where do they keep their legal documents so that you may assist if it becomes necessary? Do they even have any legal preparations?
Your parents may be very private people and not want to share to deep into the details of their health or financial status, however, you can start off with simple, basic questions that will actually allow you to meet their needs in any medical situation.
Be encouraged that taking this time to get to know your parents will create a sense of preparedness and closeness as you go through this journey together.
Prepare for the worse, live for the best!
-Jenni Knutson, CDP