THE WAITING GAME: HOW PROCRASTINATION CAN LEAD TO A FAMILY CRISIS


I had two calls to start my Monday both with families who were holding off on starting care because of their loved ones resistance to wanting care. Both families were in dire need of care immediately. In both situations there was the spouse providing the care for the (husband/wife). The families called us concerned, that with the health concerns of the caregiving spouse that if something happened to them the person they were caring for’s care would be impacted significantly. In each case I met with the couples and their family. In both meetings the family’s elderly loved ones felt as though they would be fine, while the family was worried about the “what if” scenario. What if something happens to you mom is what they said. What if you get sick or worse wind up in the hospital, who will take care of dad? Your health is not good right now and it would be a smart decision to have care in place before the “what if” happened. Their mom’s response was that they were both fine and that they could manage on their own.

Fast forward to today. I received calls from both families several hours apart. One family was finally going to come in and sign paperwork and put care in place. When they were not in our office 1st thing this morning, I called to see if everything was okay. Several hours later I received a call back and they informed me that the spouse being cared for had a fall and broke their hip and is now in the hospital and facing a stay at rehab. We spoke for some time about their parent in the hospital as well how their other parent (the primary caregiver) was doing as they themselves had been recuperating from an injury that had them laid up at home.

About 3 hours after that another call came through from the other family we had spoken to over a month ago. The children informed me that the caregiving parent, had been rushed to the hospital and that the spouse whom they had been caring for was really struggling at home, as they have dementia and are not safe to be alone. They as a family were staying there right now to cover the time and take care of their parent but that they would need to put our services in place. This crisis had made them realize they needed to put their foot down for the safety and well-being of their loved one.

Both families indicated that hind sight is 20/20 and they wished they had put the care in sooner. I relayed to them that while this might be the case, the positive thing was that the ground work had already been laid. They were not making a decision in crisis mode as many families have to do and that we could get the care started quickly.

How many of you know of families right now are on the verge of a crisis that haven’t even done the research or put a plan in place? This should be a wakeup call to each of them that it can happen to anyone at any time. I hope that those who have been waiting to pull the trigger on arranging care will be motived to get a plan in place and essentially intercept a potential crisis.

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