As if the holiday season weren’t stressful enough, Sara’s 78-year-old father, Jim, tripped on the basement stairs and broke his leg the week after Thanksgiving. Jim lived alone but fortunately, he wore a medical alert bracelet and was able to summon help. Sara rushed to the hospital as soon as she got the news.
“Dad, you know I do your laundry for you. You shouldn’t be going up and down those stairs,” she gently chided him. As his only daughter, Sara visited her father at least once a week to bring groceries, prepare meals, help him clean the house, and wash clothes. But with the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving and shopping for holiday gifts, Sara had missed her usual day and now felt terrible about it.
“It’s okay, at least I didn’t break my hip,” Jim said. “My leg will be in a cast for at least 6 weeks though, maybe longer. Then I’ll have rehab. Kind of puts a damper on the holidays. I won’t be able to go with you and the kids to pick out the Christmas tree.” It was their annual tradition, but Sara knew there was much more than holiday festivities they needed to figure out. Her father clearly couldn’t stay by himself at home since he wasn’t mobile but having him stay with her wasn’t practical either. Her house was small and wasn’t accessible. What to do?
The discharge nurse at the hospital gave Sara a great idea: hire a care manager to arrange for in-home services for her father during his recovery. It turned out to be a godsend, especially during the busy holiday season. The care manager met with Jim and Sara and found in-home care for Jim while he recuperated. She also helped them understand the services that were covered under Medicare and his long-term care insurance plan, ensured that Jim had his prescriptions, and helped to make Jim’s home safer for him by having grab bars installed in the bathroom, along with other modifications. Her calm guidance, knowledge, and experience were reassuring.
The added bonus was that Sara, and her family, could still enjoy the holidays. They modified their annual traditions; this year, they not only picked out their own tree, but they also bought a small one for Jim and the kids decorated it under his ‘supervision.’ Usually, Jim went to his daughter’s house for the holiday feast, but under the circumstances it was more practical for Sara to cook the meal at his place.
“See, it all turned out okay,” he told his daughter. “In fact, I think I like this new tradition much better!”
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