Ok, you're 1,000 miles away and get the call your parent is in crisis and most likely will need assistance living in his/her home or will need to consider a change.
The key first steps I took were the following:
1. I called my mother's church office, made them aware of my mother's situation and asked what community services would be good for me to contact.
2. I called a childhood friend who worked for a local hospital. She was able to give me a list of comprehensive services recommended by colleagues. This was a huge help.
3. I called my mother's close friend with whom my mother had shared her wishes about changes she wanted to make in her lifestyle and living.
And, finally, I decided to take a week of vacation, drive back and help my mother get settled back in her home (after her hospitalization) and assess her living condition. I knew I had to use my time wisely and I began to carve a plan out in my mind. My next blog will explore those "categories" that I add to address: her health, her finances, her current living situation (staying in her home of 30 years) and possible new living situation. I also began to prepare myself mentally for what would be a stressful, physically and emotionally demanding week. I kept focused on what our end goal was....to help my mother live the rest of her life in dignity and good health.
Here is a fantastic web site that I wished I had known about.
Check it out; just put in your parent's zip code, city or country and you will get a tremendous array of resources so you don't spin your wheels. I recall how every second is precious plus you want to find trustworthy sources.
This site is a wonderful resource from the Administration on Aging (of the US Department of Health and Human Services). Its goal is to enable the elderly to live independently. Here you will find local and state agencies to answer your questions about meals, home care, transportation. Check out the Resources link which covers everything from 'general health resources' to 'housing and living options' to 'end of life care'.
Information and planning were critical factors in helping my mother understand her situation, options and helping us to move forward and create a plan together.
Stay tuned tomorrow when I describe the four categories of consideration. I'll also cover the many key phone calls/appointments I made before I ever left home, ones that saved precious time as well as yielded additional resources.