Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Tips For Handling Health Crisis with Aging Parent

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Baby boomers are know- it-alls.  All the research says we love to be seen as the experts – with it on topics large and small.


Then a health care crisis hits with our parents.  We realize we don’t know a thing about this area of health care.  But the danger is that we pretend we do. We don’t necessarily trust the experts.  That ends up causing more problems and probably more costs.


A conversation this week with a friend again emphasized to me how little most of us know about Medicare, the health care system and long-term care needs.  It’s not our fault.  We probably never really had a need to know until this point.  And unless you are a planner, you probably have never really thought about your own future long-term care needs.


So we end up in a hospital, relieved that our loved one is alive but confused by what the experts are telling us happens next.  The situation this week was a stroke.  The next step is rehabilitation.  What’s the right place?  Who pays for what?  What to expect from rehab? They need to move her today?   So many questions.  So many confusing acronyms and initials. So much pressure and so little knowledge base to work from.



So what do you do?  You want to be a good advocate for your loved one.  You want to make the right decisions about their care and their future.  Here are some suggestions:


1.  Listen carefully and ask questions of the care experts at the hospital/care facility.  Ask them to give you not just the next decision, but layout a general framework for what may happen in the days and weeks ahead, and what to expect.  They’ll qualify their answers – because it does “all depend – but it at least gives you a chance to wrap your head around the event and the process ahead. Remember, this might be your first time, but they have been through this many times before and do probably have a good sense of what’s ahead.


2.  Call on others who have been through this.  Friends, family members, colleagues. Each situation is different, but they can help put things into context for you.  And you can learn from their mistakes.


3.  Get educated.  Go to and understand the basics of how Medicare works and what it covers.  There are some great resources and booklets to download.  If you need to look at nursing homes, there is a nursing home compare feature that will help you get a sense of quality of care available at various facilities.  This isn’t the same as your employer health insurance so don’t make assumptions.


4. Consider hiring an expert.  Sometimes it can be helpful to hire an expert – your own advocate – to help you through the health care morass and decisions.  They are generally called care managers or geriatric care managers.  They are people knowledgeable about aging and long-term care issues and local resources.  They can be a great bridge between the health care institutions and you – your own translator and guide.  Some alternatives are the association of care managers  and , a national service that provides local assistance


Written by Laura Rossman

March 29, 2009 at 3:34 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] More here: Tips For Handling Health Crisis with Aging Parent […]

  2. Keeping our body fit and healthy has a lot to do with what we eat. We need to eat healthy and for this, we need to eat healthy or in other words, we need to have a nutritious diet. For this, it is necessary that we consume foods that are rich in protein and carbohydrates that not only help us provide energy for our daily activities but also help strengthen our muscles and build our body.

    Health care tips

    April 25, 2009 at 6:00 am

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