Monday, March 25, 2013

Our blogs are now on our new website!

Please visit our new website: http://www.mateyalaw.com/

The blogs are there, as is much new information.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blog Update

I want to extend my apology for my absence.  We are updating our website and should be back on schedule...hopefully twice per month, for this blog.

I have lots to say, and I am looking forward to sharing with via this blog.  Until then...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Working With Professional Caregivers

    If you have hired a professional caregiver, as my brothers and I have for our mom, then you have another voice, another variable in the mix.  If your caregiver is a part time helper, then you have someone who sees your elderly parent in snippets of time. Like looking briefly through a window. If your caregiver is a twenty-four hour a day caregiver, then you have a whole different set of concerns. This brief blog cannot cover both -- only the part time caregiver is addressed here.

    Our caregiver, I’ll call her Donna, sees Mom twice a week for a few hours each day. Her total interaction is eight hours a week. We talk with her employer at least once a week to get feedback, and we make sure that certain things are being accomplished for Mom (laundry, cooking, etc.).

    Mom initially wanted nothing to do with a person coming to help her in her home. Today, a few months after Donna has become a part of Mom’s new routine, she looks forward to seeing her. She looks forward to cooking with her, and tells me about the projects they are doing together.  

Donna cannot replace Mom’s three children (my two brothers and I), but she can provide needed interaction, needed routine help, a smile and a hot bowl of soup. Donna’s presence is a welcome, healing touch, as any good caregiver’s presence should be.


If you are considering bringing someone into your loved one’s home to help care for them, do your research. Find a reputable company (Donna works for “Comfort Keepers” -- they are wonderful) and interview people. Look for reviews of their work. Ask for references. You would do no less if you were hiring a new employee to work for your company. Due diligence is required here, too.  And remember, Mom loves seeing you. Just like we always have to remember that our best efforts are fine, but giving Mom a hug in person. . .well that’s irreplacable.

Keep sharing your stories with us. We enjoy hearing from you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When There Is More Than One Opinion On What to Do Next, What Do You Do Next?

                Mom is doing well, having a caregiver come into her house to visit with her once a week. The idea, of course, is to have the care-giver there to do the things that are hard for Mom to do on her own. Pulling the bed clothes, doing larger cleaning projects, cooking meals that involve more than the microwave, etc.
           Mom now knows that Saturday is the day when Sharon (not her real name) arrives. So Mom tries to make sure the house is clean before she gets there. On one hand, it misses the point. On the other hand, however, it’s just fine. Mom always had a spotless house. This gives her a particular reason to keep things ‘just so.’
           Some of us want to ramp up the care-giver’s responsibilities by having her come in two days a week. Then three days a week, and so on. Others are not as anxious to make that move. Money is not a motivating factor. It’s not the expense. It is the idea that Mom is losing more autonomy.
           Do we continue to take more of her self-reliance and autonomy away from her in the name of ‘protecting’ her?  It is not an easy call. No one is pushing back from adding the second day each week with their words. But there is not a clear agreement between all three of us (and we are all named as the attorney-in-fact, in succession).  So we’re not sure of the next step.
One thing we have in our favor is that we are talking. Communication is very important, even if you don’t agree on everything.  Keep the lines of communication open between all who are helping to make the decisions for your loved one. Include that loved one if at all possible.
          As for us, we’ll have an answer. Soon. I’m sure.      

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Taking the Best Option Available

Taking care of our mom has been my brothers’ and my priority for months now. The question has been how to do it. Mom gets around on her own, though not as quickly as she once did. She takes care of herself, but not with the ease that accompanied her in more youthful days. So how do we help when we know she isn’t crazy about the idea of seeking help or asking for help?

If you’ve followed our journey at all, you know that we have tried having an in-home caregiver visit Mom at her house. In fact, we’ve tried it twice with no success. After conferring with each other, the three of us boys decided “one more try” was what we needed, only this time, we would be there for the entire first visit (Hey, even baseball gives you three strikes before you’re out!).

Our third try was decidedly more successful. We worked with Comfort Keepers, a national organization which is available in most areas. Comfort Keepers sent out their caregiver as well as the ‘intake’ person who helped familiarize Mom with their services. It was a little awkward for Mom, having a ‘stranger’ in her house. But with my one brother and me there, we were able to keep things moving in the right direction. The intake person left after about an hour, leaving three hours for my mom and the caregiver, I’ll call her “Mabel” for this writing, to get acquainted.

By the end of her first shift in Mom’s house, Mabel and Mom were getting along quite well. Mom even struggled out of her chair to give Mabel a hug. It was sweet. Mom’s words to the three of us, after Mabel was gone, were reassuring:

“I don’t think I need someone here to help me, but you three do. I guess, if that’s the way it has to be, then it’s okay with me. I like Mabel.”

We’re now happily moving forward. Presently it is one day a week -- each Saturday. This will, hopefully, turn into two days a week, then three, then more.

Please let us know if you have any questions concerning caring for your loved one.  We can be reached at info@mateyalaw.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.
   

Friday, July 13, 2012

Do We Take Control By Easing Up On The Reins?

     When you’re trying to make the right decision for your aging parent, it is easy to
fall into the ‘management’ mode.
● Review your choices
● Look at the pros and cons of each choice
● Make the best decision you can based on the empirical evidence in front of
you.
     The problem is, that has all the warmth and caring of an accounting (my apology to my accountant friends). No, you have to go further.
     When my mother refused the care-giver in her home recently, both of my brothers decided a slower, ‘walk before you run’ approach might be best. My interviews and analysis were no match for their caring attitudes.
     “What does Mom feel like, having someone new in her home?”
     “When did Mom decide this was what she wanted?”
     So we’ve scaled our plans back to a helper there one day a week, just to aid with laundry, some food preparation, light housework, etc. The hope is that, as Mom’s comfort level grows, the days and times the care-giver is there can be increased.
     We’re all on the power of attorney document and any of us could try to power our way through the others. But no one would be helped by that. Especially not Mom. We’ll continue to work together. And Mom, who was the reason for our efforts, will live out her days with a little more comfort, a little less worry, and with three boys who are doing their best to take care of her.
     Please continue sharing your stories with us of how you are taking care of your mom. And if you have questions for us, send them here, or privately, to mam@mateyalaw.com. We promise to contact you and do all we can to help you on your journey with your aging loved ones.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Right Care For Mom Might Be At “.com”


    All three of us (brothers) are trying to put the best face on helping Mom. In- home care now seems inevitable. We’re interviewing candidates, trying out friends of the family, taking Mom’s ideas into account, and hoping for the best.

    As we look at bringing a stranger into her life to help care for her basic needs, we’re also living our own, individual lives. Busy at work. Sometimes at play. We’re trying to give Mom our best without missing a beat in our personal and professional lives. At times, we’re doing both badly. At least that is how it feels.
   
    The Bible says that it is God who gives the increase, it is He who makes our plans prosper. We’re doing our best, trying to choose someone to help, and looking for a ‘plan’ that will work. Trusting in God may sound like a cop out to some, but to me, today, it is the best place I can be. The only place I can be. . .

    I signed in to www.care.com. If you have not checked them out, you should do so if your journey is anything like ours. Care.com is a company that I have recommended to many of my clients, and now I am using myself. They allow individuals like myself to post care-giving opportunities. They also allow care-givers, after proper vetting, to post their resumes.

    www.care.com has been our starting point, along with family friends. Check them out, and thank you for all the kind words since my last post.