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What I learned from my virtual caregivers
Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2020 9:00 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18723

My first encounter was advice not to use the stove.  I had been leaving food to burn in the pans, setting off the smoke detectors.  The caregivers told me what I had to do, actually not do.  I had not thought of that solution myself. After that, I knew I had to look to the caregivers here for guidance.  I learned so much that I would never have thought of myself.  

There were two main care principles that I learned that I did not know and never would have thought of.   1) Care needs drive decisions.  2) Plan for the worst days.

I learned from my virtual caregivers how I should want to be treated when I can't take care of myself.  To be treated with kindness; to be kept safe from harm; to have my mind kept stimulated, not to be plunked down in front of a TV all the time; to have my needs responded to; to be kept from embarrassment.

Many virtual caregivers made an impact on me, and a few stand out.

Jo C:

--how to set up a care notebook and manage paperwork

--about being kind to the PWD


--find the highest quality appropriate facility, don't rely on family to caretake

--what is the training of the staff?


--don't rush to move to a facility, much can be managed at home


--safety is a priority


--keep the LO free from stress, keep the environment pleasant and comfortable


--routines reduce stress

Medical student (can't remember the name):

--keep the LO from falling


--begin financial planning early

--don't rely on generic advice, get specific advice for my own situation


King boo:

--monitor the credit report

--do a credit freeze

--work with a certified elder attorney


Several other virtual caregivers gave me more guidance that I would never have found or realized on my own.  This includes advice regarding, but not limited to:

--Teepa Snow

--resources for veterans

--using a geriatric care manager

--using senior meal plans

-moving to a CCRC

--updated rules for hospice

--aromatherapy and non-medical calmants

--using my money for my own care

--different aspects of home care.

I can't remember all the names of these people who shared so much for me.  I don't have a family caregiver and I am alone, so I rely on my peer role models and my virtual care partners. I needed to know what I have to do for myself.



Posted: Monday, February 10, 2020 12:58 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2659

Thank you so much for mentioning me.  I've been lurking for the past few weeks and another idea came to me for your rather unique situation.  Have you considered hiring an au pair to live with you, monitor your safety, and take over duties you find yourself unable to do any longer?  Part of the compensation could be room and board, but even if not, it is a less expensive alternative to LTC.
Iris L.
Posted: Monday, February 10, 2020 8:16 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18723

Unforgiven, it was one of your posts that led me to understand the dual aspects of caregiving based on my needs.  There is a need for supervision and decision making, and there is a need for physical care.  You stated that frequently the family caregiver is called to the AL facility to problem-solve various issues that the AL facility is not prepared to deal with.  Thus the LO might as well remain in the home until it is absolutely necessary for a different living situation.  

At this point I don't need help with ADLs.  I need help with decision-making.  I need help with the answers to the questions posted above.  These are not questions that an au pair can help me with.  Nevertheless, in the past, I have asked assistance from a neighborhood child and a neighborhood teen, and from a couple of neighborhood women.  At this point, I am not thinking of 24/7 help in my home.  I don't have anyone to supervise an au pair 24/7.  

If it comes to that, I think I would prefer to reside in a facility with workers who are trained to meet my specific needs.  That's why I like jfkoc's idea.  Since I don't have AD now, I don't think I will need memory care.  I am still considering all options.  There are pros and cons to each option.


Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 10:30 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21317

And you have helped in so many ways. 

We here are one big team...each of us relying on the other. It's a very good thing

Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 11:04 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18723

Jfkoc, the sharing is especially appreciated for those of us with no care partner.

Unforgiven, I want to expand on my earlier response.  At the times when I would ordinarily look to a family member to assist me, since I am alone, I will have to seek alternatives.  I will compensate by limiting the tasks that I will need help with.  I have a plan:

--eliminate tasks

--simplify tasks

--automate tasks.

Thus I will be better able to care for myself alone for a longer period of time.


Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 11:52 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18723

Unforgiven, there are several note-worthy responses on the thread "Friend moved in to help..." regarding needing to evict or eject a live-in companion.  I can't risk this.  Yikes!


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:45 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4500

What a horror story Iris. There are so many people out there that one cannot trust and its very scary.