Originally publish over a year ago, this situation will be true forever. The hard decisions families and family caregivers face is one of the best arguments for being involved with caregiver support groups. If you are a family caregiver, find folks who can understand your experience.
At Support For Home, we often talk about one of the hardest decisions that families sometimes have to make – who is going to take care of a loved one, providing the home care that enables that loved one to stay where they want to stay, at home.
Sometimes those families have even tougher decisions, concerning the care that their loved ones should receive. Recently, we talked about emergency services and hospitalization that are too often pushed onto elderly patients, especially those with dementia. There are other, similar concerns that occur all too frequently.
When a patient with Parkinson’s reached a certain point, the family had to decide whether esophageal dilation should be repeated (the esophagus stretched several times before to help with swallowing). With all the love that a family can feel, they face huge challenges and stresses in making these decisions, especially if there is not a crystal clear Advance Healthcare Directive in place.
A similar story was discussed about a week ago in “The New Old Age” blog of The New York Times. With an uncle’s lost 33 lbs. because he could not eat, the options were to have a feeding tube inserted and hope for the best or hope that the uncle would pass away peacefully in his sleep. There is no way such a decision is anything but agonizing.
As we age, as illnesses hit, it is not just about us. Our families have very tough times in front of them, as well. Make careful decisions for yourself. Our Advance Living Directive may help. An Advance Healthcare Directive will help. Talking issues out with family and loved ones is critical. Do not let these subjects be taboo. The consequences, for all, are too grim.
Best wishes, Bert