In July 1998, I accepted a position at Kansas Advocates for Better Care. At that point, I knew very little about nursing homes or the care they provided. Taking this job was the beginning of my journey into the complex world of long-term care services for frail elders. One of the most difficult pieces of the job was – and still is at times – answering the phone. Hearing from so many people with all kinds of problems such as finding help caring for a confused parent or how to resolve neglectful situations involving a loved one in a nursing home, can be overwhelming. So often I’d hear “I never thought this would happen to me!”
My Mom Irene lived independently for several years after my Dad died. Overall, she did well on her own but suddenly started having health problems. After what should have been a routine doctor’s visit, Mom became very ill and was hospitalized. Her health declined rapidly and it was clear that she needed a nursing home when she was discharged from the hospital. Thankfully, I had already learned about and understood the long-term care system well enough to ask questions and follow every step of medical care being provided. Although this was part of my job and I knew how to talk with others about long-term care choices, “I never thought this would happen to me” – and the importance of KABC’s support and information really hit home.
Because of this experience, I urge others to think ahead about the likely need for someone you know and love to receive long-term care. Research. Ask questions. Become educated before you come face to face with YOUR loved-ones long-term care and medical needs.
KABC can help guide you through this maze and lend support.
Call KABC in Lawrence at 842-3088 or toll-free, 800-525-1782.