Hospitalizing a parent: 10 things to consider


Part one of a two-part series The phone rings. Your 80-year old mother has fallen. They suspect she has broken her hip. An ambulance is on its way. Whether the relationship with your mother is strained or loving, you live near or far, you are her only child or one of six, most likely you will play a role in her recovery. Seniors often feel hospitalization is “overwhelming and terrifying.” They say doctors expect them to understand complicated instructions and make decisions while they are in pain or in the fog of medication. Probably two of the most important roles we can play in the lives of our aging parents are as advocate and planner. If you think you might be asked to be your parents’ advocate during their hospitalization, there are 10 things you should help them plan for in advance: 1. Have your parents appointed you as their medical, legal or financial durable power of attorney? If not, who is? The person your parents appoint as their POA will make decisions when your...

Accidental caregivers


Our new house brought with it many new things: a new address, a new location and new neighbors. I find it odd that people in the market for a new home would spend so much energy deciding on the location and price but give so little attention to who their neighbors might be. Some neighbors change lives forever. Not long after my husband, Peter, and I moved into our home in Westlake Village, we hosted a “meet your neighbors” cocktail party. Neighbors arrived, mostly two by two, husband and wife, mostly our age, in their 50s. One couple, Fred and Hildy, were the exception. Fred, 83, wheeled his wife, Hildy, 86, into our front entry. They were a lovely couple, totally unaware that they weren’t exactly like the rest of the neighbors who came for drinks. A few weeks after our event, Hildy called to ask if my husband and I would like to attend Fred’s birthday party. I said to my husband, “Wouldn’t it be nice to meet Fred and Hildy’s kids and grandkids?” The party attendees turned out...