I’m James Colozzo
the author of “You Got To Do What You Got To Do,” My Experience As A Caregiver Taking Care Of My Parents For Over Twenty Years. This is my first blog post and I would like to discuss taking care of elderly parents. This topic affects adults with living parents because most people have not planned ahead and that’s why I say it’s “A Challenge For Baby Boomers To Millennials.”
The older generation struggled and lived paycheck to paycheck to provide for the family. They never heard of long term care insurance and even if it was available there was not enough money left over to cover the monthly premium. Most never gave it a thought until the later years on “who” might take care of them. They thought that Medicare would cover these expenses and that is true for most medical and hospitalization but not for personal care. This decision, most of the time, is made after an emergency such as a stroke or heart attack. In the hospital you have to make this decision in a matter of a few hours or days.
In my situation, my mother woke up one morning and yelled she couldn’t get out of bed because she had no strength in her legs. On that day my life changed forever. From that day forward she needed 24 hour a day care, 7 days a week. She needed to be lifted to and from bed, the bathroom, the shower, the wheelchair. She could no longer be left alone and needed help with a lot of the tasks we take for granted. I started taking care of her full time because I made I promise to my father when he was ill. I just never thought it would happen so fast. When this occurs you have very little time for discussion and you have to make the decision quick.
We always want to be prepared for life’s events but unfortunately most of the time we are not prepared for this situation. Some want to become caregivers of their parents, others have no choice and have to take care of their elderly parents. That’s one of the reasons I wrote “You Got To Do What You Got To Do”
is to let people know how much work is involved before they take on this enormous responsibility and how it will probably change their life.
I had no experience in being a caregiver. My father was diagnosed with a lung disease in the 1970’s. We knew this disease would progress and make his life difficult. He was a strong man and he fought this disease until the early 90’s. I have two sisters but they had families and careers. This kept them extremely busy and I felt it would not be fair to them to interrupt their family life. Since I was single and had my own business, I decided that I would take care of our dad. When his lung disease turned into cancer it took its toll quickly. I detail in the book how I started to lift him out of bed and help him around the house. This was basic care but as time went on it became more detailed such as washing, shaving and more. His disease advanced and he was in and out of the hospital. I basically learned how to care for him while doing it. The hospital, at that time, did not offer much in the form of advice for a caregiver. He died in 1995.
In 1999 my mom woke up and said she could not stand. I detail in the book how it is different for a son taking care of his mom versus his father. I had to do things that I thought I never would have to do. Once again I learned as I went along because this is a situation where everyone is different and what you learn about one might not work with another. What worked for my dad didn’t work for my mom.
In my book I give you an idea of how much work is involved, the burden and responsibility. It was a learning experience and it continued until my mom passed away. In fact I was still learning about the effects to my life even after she passed away.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Author-"You Got To Do What You Got To Do"
www.takingcareofaparent.comJames Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2018 James Colozzo
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Tags: Baby Boomers, Caregiving, Eldercare, Long Term Care, Millennials