Sunday, April 18, 2010

When the going gets tough ...

When the going gets tough ... you call for help! The question is, who do you call?
Since Nana's fall and Grampa George's recent issues with loss of balance I find myself facing new challenges that are, well, challenging. Nana's not supposed to walk by herself which means I must be with her at all times, or at least nearby. Grampa George's loss of balance is random so I find myself running to catch him when it happens to keep him from falling and injuring himself as well. Also, it's not fair for me to hurry Nana through her breakfast then hustle Grampa George into the car without bothering to change out of his slippers when I take him to the lab for his weekly blood tests.
As both of my favorite seniors slow down, I assist them with whatever their increasing needs are including: showers, hair care, skin care; laying out of fresh clothes then helping to put them on; providing meals according to different dietary needs; ensuring each takes their prescribed medications (once they've been ordered, dispensed,picked up and sorted); assistance in the bathroom and/or with incontinence needs; the usual household chores such as laundry, tidying up and making beds; making, confirming and keeping appointments; as well as taking them on regular outings and to social activities, all of which don't leave much time for the needs of the rest of the family even when they're all pitching in.
My call to Nana's and Grampa George's case manager at the Community Care Access Center prompted a reassessment of both their situations. With recommendations from the nurses in emergency after Nana's fall, her family physician, the wound nurse who came to tend to her wounds, and the nurse manager who followed up with me, as suggested by our Personal Support Worker, I now have several hours of assistance for both per week. This is not just respite for me, it is a huge relief when it comes to the health and safety of both Nana and Grampa George. It means I can tend to one with my full attention while their PSW happily tends to the other.
The CCAC also arranged for an Occupational Therapist as well as a Pharmacist to assess Nana's and Grampa George's needs, make recommendations and provide guidance that helps me improve their daily care.
It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to care for a senior. Lesson learned: ask and you shall receive. It you do not, ask again or try another source, for help is available if you look for it.

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