When our social worker Ron meets with new clients, he discusses how our aging parents view adult children. They see them as the kid who crashed their car, or borrowed money and didn’t pay it back, or whined when things got too hard. When the time comes, taking care of aging parents becomes difficult when they still view us with the baggage from raising us. They may brag about our accomplishments to their friends but they don’t see us as grown up enough to help take care of them.
Both Ron and I have experienced this as well with our own parents recently. Even though we have been running a Geriatric Care Management practice for the past decade and Ron has a master’s degree and license in Social Work, we are still “children” to them and not the professionals that they want to listen to. And our aging parents have that right, after all, they still have capacity and they still have the right to make their own decisions, whether we personally deem them “good” or “bad” decisions. Taking care of our aging parents isn’t easy for us either.
Ron was recently in Dallas dealing with a health emergency with his Mom. One of the first things he did was interview local Geriatric Care Managers, also known as Care Experts, or Aging Life Care Professionals as they have recently re-branded themselves. He knows in his experience that our aging parents will more likely listen to a professional about where they will receive the best medical care, or hiring a caregiver 24/7 upon hospital discharge for the first week at home will be a good investment in their post-surgical recovery, or it really is okay to ask the doctor/hospitalist/surgeon lots of questions. It sounds way better coming from a “professional” than the son who burned down their living room couch as a teenager.
Hiring an Aging Life Care Professional in Dallas will also allow Ron to come home to Arizona after the crisis has been managed. His Dallas colleague will provide any needed oversight or guidance that his parents may need, while giving us the confidence that their needs during this current health emergency will be addressed even if Ron can’t return to Dallas right away. And once this crisis has passed, the local Aging Life Care Professional, will be a safety net for us, someone to call when the next crisis happens until he has time to get back on the airplane to Dallas.