Procrastination is Expensive
By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG
A client I met decided to support her mother, Eleanore, by inviting her to live in the basement apartment of the home she shared with her husband and two children. When Eleanore first moved in six months earlier she was fairly able to take care of all of her own needs. Unexpectedly, Eleanore fell and fractured her pelvis and several vertebrae in her back. The fall resulted in a hospital stay and two months of rehabilitation at a local nursing facility.
The daughter, Christine, believed Eleanore could return to her home and take care of herself. Upon release from the nursing home, Eleanore was a fall risk, had difficulty with mobility and balance and experienced pain due to the previous fractures. She was unable to remember to take her medications at the proper times, lacked an appetite and needed assistance with personal care including bathing and using the toilet. After six weeks of providing day and night care for her mother, Christine became distraught and angry for allowing Eleanore to move in with the family. Her husband finally gave an ultimatum, hire outside help as the act of caregiving was tearing apart their previously happy family.
It was at this point, while operating my in home caregiving company, that I met with Christine and Eleanore. Christine was very angry about the situation and told Eleanore that assistance was needed because Christine could no longer be the caregiver. If Eleanore would not accept help, the only other option was going back to the nursing home. Not only that, but Eleanore was going to have to pay for caregivers. It was clear that Christine waited too long to seek assistance because it was difficult for her to interact with Eleanore in a courteous manner that did not include some kind of threat.
Christine returned to work the next day. The first day of care for Eleanore was a success – less strain on Christine and needed and beneficial care for her mother. The second day, Christine went to work without first checking on her mother. Upon arrival, the care provider discovered that Eleanore had fallen during the night and her son, who just happened to stop by for an early visit found her lying on the floor and rushed her to the hospital. Unfortunately Eleanore’s fate was sealed with this fall. She had re-fractured her pelvis and broken a hip, living long enough only to be transferred to a nursing home for a second round of rehabilitation. The price of Christine’s procrastination was her mother’s life. The sad part is that this story is becoming all too common.
As caregivers and those needing care, we often wait too long to seek assistance. We wait because we are the caregiver too proud to admit we need help. We wait because we think we can do it all. Parents needing assistance wait because they don’t want to spend their children’s inheritance. Parents wait because they don’t want others telling them what to do or heaven forbid don’t want to pay for care. Parents wait because they think they can do more than is actually practical. The list goes on and on.
The price of procrastination is expensive — life in a nursing home or worse, death. Waiting one more day to seek help may cost more than anyone expects. If you find yourself in a similar situation, pick up the phone today to investigate options for care and related costs.
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