Reba McEntire's father is continuing to receive treatment after suffering a stroke in March. Surrounded by family, he is doing much better. Glamorous Zsa Zsa Gabor is having a much harder time as she continues in and out of the hospital, receiving nursing care from her stroke. Britain's first female Director of Public Prosecutions, Dame Barbara Mills died after she suffered a stroke in May. The sad, but true news is that no one is immune from having a stroke and no one knows what the results of a stroke will be, as they can vary widely. For boomers and seniors, it can be more of a risk, but even children can have a stroke!
The Sandwich Generation family, dealing with the issues of caring for elderly parents while still raising children or babysitting grandchildren, may well be called upon to provide nursing care for a family member suffering from stroke related issues. Most often, that may mean caring for elderly parents in our homes. Other times it could mean overseeing their care in a medical facility.
While this is the first time I've really written much about strokes specifically, I have shared many valuable resources to help our senior parents during illness, including before they suffer a stroke, and after they have – during the rehab and recovery process. One very important suggestion, to have them get one of the excellent medical alert systems for the elderly complete with a medical alert device, is due to a dear senior friend who died a few months after she suffered a stroke and had to lie alone in her bathroom for several days before being found. I cannot recommend highly enough for all who also live alone to sign up for one of the excellent medical alert systems for the elderly, such as Philips Lifeline or LifeStation!
Wearing one of the medical alert devices, like medical alert pendants or wrist watches, can increase your senior parent's chance of getting medical assistance in a timely manner – especially vital for stroke victims. As I've written before, one of my sweet seniors wears one of those medical alert pendants and it has come in quite handy for her more than once! I just wish my dear friend had been wearing one! They even have some with auto fall detection in case of unconsciousness. They aren't yet 100% but they are certainly better than nothing!
Other excellent resources to help those of us caring for stroke patients:
- Caring – They have useful materials covering everything from the basics of what is the difference between a stroke and a TIA to caregiver support groups to caregiving tips in general.
- Caregiving – A very interesting article about 2010 Caregiver of the Year Award Winner, Bette Scott, whose mom suffered a stroke and came to live with them while her youngest was still in diapers. She has definitely been dealing with the Sandwich Generation issues as she and her family have have helped her mom while providing nursing care during her mom's recovery from her stroke.
- If you haven't already done so, it is vital that you help your senior parents set up legal documents to help in case they become totally incapacitated, such as a power of attorney and their medical directives. It's wise to go straight to an attorney, however if you'd like more ideas and information, Matthew Johnson, at My Health Bridge, has some excellent resources to help you with that. And as you do that, it's important to designate more than one or two people to be in charge – just in case something happens to you. You can find out why I say that in my guest post, Caring for Elderly Parents? Are You Prepared To Be Replaced?, at EldercareABC.
In dealing with my senior dad's end stage Parkinsons Disease symptoms, my immediate Sandwich Generation family was able to do all our caregiving at home. It's definitely less expensive, it's what my parents preferred, and it works very well for us. Currently, my senior mom lives with me and, as we like to say, we are a great team. But that's not always an option, and in the past I've helped extended family members and senior friends deal with other options. It's always good to have help in that arena as well:
- Just last week, I reported on the latest ElderCareChat over at Twitter. It focused on positive transitions of senior parents to caregiving facilities, and includes some excellent resource links, including a senior care transition guide from Seniors For Living. As a matter of fact, Seniors For Living has several free and excellent resource guides to help us, which also includes their caregiving resource guide.
- EldercareABC, another resource I greatly appreciate, has a very useful article, Senior Care Options: Costs, Choices and Quality Standards. They, too, have an excellent free resource, Worried About Eldercare Costs – 31 Facts You Need To Know. Just click here, or on any of their other pages, and look in the far right column.
- At SandwichINK, I've written a review of the book, Transitioning Your Aging Parent, by Dale Carter, which is written for those who are beginning or need to begin transitioning their elderly parents from living independently to having help from family and friends – whether they continue to live alone, move in with us, or move into an assisted living or critical care facility.
One important thing to remember during the difficult situation you may be going through – it's just as important to take good care of the caregiver as it is to provide loving care for your elderly parents. I love to encourage you through the days with fun posts like Caring for Elderly Parents Is Easier if You Make Sure You Are Also Caring for the Caregiver, along with more serious words of encouragement such as, Comforting and Encouraging Bible Verses for Caregivers Dealing with Grief Issues.
For some more encouraging resources to help those of us in and out of the Sandwich Generation with caring for elderly parents, including stroke patients, check out this new to me book, The Comfort of Home, along with one I've suggested before – The Complete Eldercare Planner by Joy Loverde. And there's even a video to help your family as you help care for your beloved stroke patients, Stroke Recovery – Taking Back Our Lives, which you can purchase or rent. In it, you'll hear 60 minutes of other patients, of all ages, describe how they felt while the stroke happened and during their recovery period, as well as advice, and helpful information also given by stroke survivors, along with caregivers, family, friends, doctors, and other health professionals. Click here and select to see the preview.
Also, if you have any suggestions for helping our aging parents or other relatives through the stroke recovery period, we'd love to hear them! And if you missed part 1 – Help for The Family Caring for Elderly Parents Who Are Stroke Patients, just click here. In fact, you can find links to the entire series on caring for elderly parents after having a stroke by clicking here.