Meet Martin he has post-polio syndrome; he is 89. He cared for his wife of more than fifty years.
Meet Martin's wife: Alice, who had Parkinson’s and its’ accompanying dementia and several common diseases including high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rate/rhythm & taking blood-thinning medication) over active bladder (incontinence), glaucoma, heart disease and poor circulation.
They needed help
These two shared a two-story house in my neighborhood with adult children living about an hour away and across the country in California. Fiercely independent, I first met them when Martin was struggling to take out the rubbish. He wore braces to support his weakened legs and always appeared exhausted, but pleasant. As we got to know one another better, I suggested that my children and I take out the weekly rubbish, shovel their driveway, and get groceries when needed: neighborly support. This worked for a while, but I knew so much more was going on in their house. I had made offers to assist them; a discounted neighborly rate even. They were too proud and stubborn to accept help, certain they could manage as they always had.
Then it happened. The first fall.
His first panicked call to me to take them to the hospital so Alice could be evaluated. She had fallen and hit her head, confused, with a large laceration, and blood everywhere. Their once immaculate house piled with day-to-day items left untended with his care-giving responsibilities. Martin had been able to move her to a kitchen chair: he refused to call an ambulance, “costs too much!” Thus began a slide down the road of no return. Frequent falling, unplanned ER visits and hospital stays, unplanned doctor visits. Their adult children were, for some reason, not dialed in to the increasing health and care needs exhibited by their parents. Stopping by every 2-3 weeks for a couple of hours, buying groceries, but not seeing the bigger picture that these two octogenarians we no longer living safe in their home without structured support.
Simple Solutions - Not Simple To Implement
Home safety evaluation
Regularly scheduled home health aide visits
Skilled nursing and physical therapy
Utilizing a medication box for medication safety
Home delivered meals
Moving their bedroom down to the dining room to avoid using steps as frequently
So much of the pain, confusion and falls could have been avoided, if the children took the time to really look around their parents home and saw their parents declining health. This is not an easy realization but one that is critical for increased happiness and longevity.
We value Nancy and ElderCompass. She interprets for her clients and communicates and clarifies clinical information for our staff. ElderCompass advocacy increases the quality of our interactions and helps to guide care. Nancy makes my job easier and gives patients and caregivers peace of mind.
D. Hernandez, MD, Vascular Surgeon, Pontiac Michigan
"I've been meaning to email you to thank you for all your assistance with Lilly . I only wish we could have gotten you involved about a year earlier! Thank you and it's so nice to hear you visited her! I'm glad that Lilly seemed so much better to you as I was there yesterday and it was clearly not a good day for her ."
"Everything ended up going smoothly at the doctor's appointment. It was super helpful that you sent the health summary - I just assumed since my aunt had seen him before that they would have had that info. And I thought they would have been able to access her medication list since it is all electronic. I was wrong on all counts, so thanks for coming to the rescue! We could not be happier or more thankful for all you helped us through. I only wish we had met with you a few years ago when first suggested!"