Caring for your aging parents when you’re busy

On this episode of Senior Care Minute, Gary and Steve talk about how RetireEase can help you care for your aging parent when your schedule starts to get busy.

Gary 

Steve Parrott joining us here on the health and wellness show on 103.5 FM and 560 AM WVOC. Steve, good morning, my friend.

 

Steve 

Always good to be here with you, Gary.

 

Gary 

Always a pleasure to have you. RetireEase Senior Serivces – We were chatting before we came on the air here that you’re kind of living the life right now that that we talk about every other Saturday here with you on the show.

 

Steve 

It’s amazing when your own parents arrive at this place of In-Home Care, Parent Care, Senior Care, whatever you want to call it, but man, I’ll tell you, you don’t realize the level of activity it adds to your life and sometimes a little bit of stress behind the s cenes that you’re kind of thinking I gotta keep up with this, gotta do that, watch out for mom and dad. You know, we got caregivers involved now.

 

Gary 

So you’ve had to hire on your own caregivers to help out?

 

Steve 

Yeah, we started, we started in 2003, helping out my own mother in law, that was our passion, our mission to really, you know, help her go through ALS at 52. That was 20 years ago. And now 20 years later, here, we are circling back again with, you know, our own kind of, you know, personal journey with all of this. And so it does give us a new perspective on you know, what it takes to keep it all going as far as caregiving, you know, your work life balance and your kids, all that stuff.

 

Gary 

And that’s our topic today is caring for aging parents, when you’re busy. And we’re all busy.

 

Steve 

Yep, it’s you know, we love the see things like these transitions, seasonal transitions are fun, kids going back to school is fun. You know, we all want to try to get to that keep that normalcy in our life. But you know, it gets exciting when things like that change. However, those things also create a problem if you’re caregiving, you know, especially for our grandmother, grandfather, and you’re a school teacher, and you’ve had all summer off, you’re able to, you know, focus in on them 100%. Now, what happens when you’re a school teacher, and you’re going back to school, and all sudden, all those personal errands, and grocery shopping and all the things you did for mom and dad go away.

 

Gary 

We have those situations where you know, maybe you got to stay at home parent, who during the summertime has got a little more time available to spend with mom and dad. And now you’re running the errands for the kids and you’re hauling them here you’re hauling there, you got school you got after school activities, you got sports, you got this, you got it, this gets to be a very busy time of the year for everybody. Right?

 

Steve 

So in particularly for the teachers, or those involved in schools. Because not only is it gobble up that window of time, from about eight to three, then when your kids come home, most of those people have school aged kids. So now you have homework now you have after school practice. So mom and dad who had you from eight to eight, let’s say wide open availability through the summer now, don’t even get you probably until the weekend. So it’s a real big challenge. You know, it’s hard when seniors go through these kinds of things. And, you know, how do we do that? How do we keep that work life balance going in, you know, for many families, even ourselves going through this right now. You really try to ask for help. Fortunately for us, we have some resources. We don’t have to look very far. But for many families, it’s really asking for help we see these assessments. So when we’re working with families, we did a school teacher this week, we did another family that was in a real high stressful situation. And some of the comments we got back were, you know, well, my house isn’t clean. You know, we’ve been busy all summer with the kids and everything. And it’s just not ready for a caregiver to come in and help mom and dad. You know, people worry about little things like that. And for us, we’re like, Hey, don’t, that’s the last thing on our mind. As far as caregiving, we’re there to take care of the senior. But you can see how that really stresses a family out when they’re worried about those little things. Like it’s not perfect, you know, to for a character to come in.

 

Gary 

And you may find yourself as one of these situations and oh, it never fails where you’ve been helping out with mom and dad. And now you’re hoping maybe another family member can do it. But they’re not used to doing it. You’ve been doing it and trying to get them to come do it as well that that creates some problems.

 

Steve 

Well, I think you you have a sister or somewhere that’s kind of long distance. And yeah, we’re out here. Yeah. So you get most of the care. And that’s very typical with a lot of families that we have, you know, another client that we just talked to yesterday. It’s a very difficult situation. Her brother lives in Charlotte, and she’s here doing all the help and you know, she picks up the phone “Hey, can you come get dad out of the hospital, I’ve got some out my own medical appointments” and he goes “You know what, I’m sorry, Sis, I’m busy”. So we see that’s a very common problem for some local caregivers. When family members are distant, they really don’t understand the pressure. You know, it would take off somebody just come down and pick up mom and dad from a hospital or taken for a day for you know, medical appointments, things like that. So we do we do see that and that’s where help can really step in and relieve the caregiver.

 

Gary 

Maybe you’re fortunate you got a family member or a friend who can step up maybe a donation this time for a call to RetireEase.

 

Steve 

We provide a lot of this kind of help short term, long term transportation. You know, the care and companionship part oftentimes is something that we can custom designed for family. So, you know, we work with family members to so that they can plan when the highest value block of time will be for us to come in. And so that allows them some peace of mind to so when they’re thinking about, well, we’re going on vacation in two weeks, or I have a series of appointments, or my kids are going back to school, I need somebody, you know, for few hours during the daytime, while I’m teaching class, you know, and I can’t get 10 calls from mom and dad while I’m passing out tests. ]

 

Gary 

Well, let’s, let’s talk about that. Because, you know, it’s just seems to be a natural function of aging, because the aging kicks in and the the demand seemed to pick up for some reason.

 

Steve 

Yeah.

 

Gary 

I guess there’s a reason for that. We see that a lot

 

Steve 

As we age, you know, we can watch our own parents, but as we age, you know, a lot of things take place, you know, their expectation on us increases their impatience level, their decision making their cognitive ability to realize how long something takes, or the fact that you are working, or that, you know, you’re not retired.

 

Gary 

I’ve said that about my parents before. I mean, they they’ve been retired for so long, you forget what it was like to do the nine to five or, or more than that every day. Again, our parents have been where we are, they did that and raised us it took us to all these places, but you get you step out of out of that for so long, and your whole world vision changes.  Then we have things like okay, if you have a family member who’s sick or hospitalized, or you’ve had a baby under there, there are are laws and rules out there that employees anything like this for having to care for an aging parent.

 

Steve 

Yep. And we see a lot a lot of family members work and family members, like us, folks in our age, are really having to look at a couple options. Do I go part time? Do I really try to step back and work? And, you know, provide, you know, do something on part time? Can I financially afford that? The other part is cost with us, you know, services like ours are not inexpensive, by any means to have somebody come in, and oftentimes when they start to, to weigh out the cost of service versus working, it’s kind of like when we had three kids in daycare, I was like, my wife should just stay home it’s cheaper. So you balanced the cost out, you balance a part time. And oftentimes, you can go to your employer and maybe in particularly since we had the pandemic, a lot of a lot of caregivers found ways to work from home. So, you know, your employer may be able to allow you to do two, three days a week at home with a computer, virtual. So that would allow you some time maybe to step away and do some some caregiving for mom and dad, particularly if they live in the home with you. And we’ve had situations like that, too.  Right. So this falls under the Family Medical Leave Act. So we have a lot of a lot of family members that, you know, if they’re medically if the seniors medically declined, and they have to take that for FMLA for that reason, they can go to their employer and do all the paperwork and everything get that filled out. So there’s a little step by step process the the family member has to do. If there’s a, you know, a severe episode, or they have a fall, break a hip stroke, you know, something that’s pretty significant, and major families are able to do that kind of thing. So that is definitely an option for some families give you that 12 weeks of probably unpaid leave, but at least at least you’re at home, at least you’re not out of pocket for, you know, some type of private or personal help like that we could do. You know, a couple of things we do too, if you can find ways to keep them from getting bored. So a lot of caregiving, we find is just occupying time voids of time. So is there ways where your family members can get involved in support groups or, you know, some some small adult daycare programs. So, a lot of times churches have half day programs for seniors to do things. There’s, you know, a lot of senior activities. Here in Lexington coming up, it’s called the Senior Games or, you know, licensing games, and that’s Richland County and all 50year old plus seniors, that qualifies us to go down there we can, we can compete against the 80 year olds, but there’s a lot of activities, you know, with senior centers in places that would allow them just to escape that boredom, maybe give them you know, a hot meal, things like that, that would also you know, would help in that. And that’s a that’s a big part of it, too, is just just preventing the boredom because when they’re bored, they do things at home that you know, sometimes, you and I don’t make sense to us but make perfect sense to a family member, you know, they want to get into yard work, house maintenance, changing light bulbs, doing things that you know, getting on step ladders. So there’s a lot of safety issues like that, that seniors in their mind even though you know, they may be at 86 or 90 years old, they still think, you know, I can do those things.

 

Gary 

Every week I go see my parents every week is “Hey, can you go change the hummingbird feeder for because I won’t let your dad clamp on a stepladder” because he thinks that almost 90 years old, he can still do that.

 

Steve 

Yeah, simple activities like that are great ways to prevent them from doing that. And that’s one of the things that is stressful for family members. They know that they’re in charge of the bird feeder or the hummingbird feeder or the you know, laundry, shopping, meal prep. So their services now where you can have food delivered, that’s a big one. Our caregivers, certainly with RetireEase we prep it, shop it, fix it do all of that for our seniors and meals, nutrition. hydration are a great way to keep a client mentally healthy, physically healthy. But you can also if you’re just busy and don’t have time or they’re not at the point of needing caregiver, have the meals delivered, have groceries delivered those kind of things. Make it easy for yourself.

 

Gary 

RetireEase Senior Services, the guy with the answers right here because you’ve been doing it for a long time, brother, a long time. Give him a call. How can folks reach Steve?

 

Steve 

Yeah, best way? Our websites is great. We’ve got all these downloads, will have the show on there as well. Our telephone number is 803 865 5033 here locally and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, all those great places. So we would love to help family members try to figure out how to transition back to school, but keep your parents safe too.

 

Gary 

Steve, good to see you buddy.

 

Steve 

Thanks, Gary.