Elder Law Practice of
Douglas R Jones &
Cynthia Orlicek Jones


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Dealing with the change we didn’t see coming…

Inauguration Day was a couple days ago. For better or worse, our country will have a new President and a new direction in American politics. We continue to pray for our leaders and for our country. But whether it’s political change or personal change in the life of our family, change is constant.

The concept of change seems to be hard-wired into everything we do – there is even change in nature. If you have been fortunate enough to visit one of our many beaches in the United States, you have witnessed continual change. Waves roll in and then waves roll out. Some of the waves are bigger than others, so if you’re walking on the beach and are not paying attention, you may occasionally get wet. The same is true in all areas of life, change continues – some good and some bad.

Unexpected Health Event

Yesterday, I met with a family who was hit by one of those unexpected waves. Their Mom declined suddenly and they didn’t see it coming.

Like most people, they had just “lived life” for many years and dealt with things as they happened. Mom & Dad had lived good lives, had a home and a little bit of money – then the unexpected happened. Mom suffered an unexpected stroke. The family was suddenly hit by one of those unexpected waves. They didn’t see that one coming and had done nothing to plan for the consequences.

Dealing With Change

Just like this family, things happen occasionally that we just don’t see coming. If and when they happen, we would like to be in a position to get the best results possible for our Loved One who experienced the health event and for all family members.

But how do we plan and what actions do consider when the unexpected happens. Our friend Kathy responded to the tips contained in a recent article and gave us some tips on actions to take when your family experiences unexpected change in the life of an aging parent.

Kathy’s Take on Change – Professional Advice

Moms Health

Sudden changes big or small is a change for everyone – so look ahead in preparation. Get all legal papers in order. Plan to find out what mom wants and doesn’t want. What type of care and who will be giving that care, investigate facilities, agencies, respite and swing bed care options. Then when the unexpected comes, and it will, everything will go smoother.

The Recovery

I always help others to look at all options so there is no changing once the process is going. Gather all info and get advice from someone with knowledge, such as hospital or community social workers

Family Helpers

The reality is not everyone can help. But everyone can be a part of the care process – whether it is doing phone calls, taking Mom to appointments or providing personal care. Have a back up plan if the first isn’t working. The smallest amount of help you can offer is always appreciated. Even if you live at a distance, communicate with Mom and local caregivers. Your presence matters a lot.


There are many programs out there that will help cut costs. Check all of these out carefully. Sometimes family members can be reimbursed for the care they are giving. This may save tons of money if you qualify. Meals on wheels and life lines are also a huge help, giving families a short break. I encourage you not to drop these programs just because someone may be in the home full time – they are still needed.

If the sudden change is a huge one, it can be good to look for placement until a more permanent plan is in place, such as private workers. It also may be best to look at full time placement in the facility. Make sure the facility will meet the needs of mom. All places are different so look at several. Be sure and get mom’s input as well. If she feels forced to move, it will be far more difficult for everyone.

Good news! It’s NEVER too late to plan. Even at the last minute, good things can  happen. If you are interested in protecting what you can when no planning was done, download our FREE Book today.

Small steps, wise choices can make everything work well for everyone. Have no guilt. Do your best and hang in there. You are doing great!!

Thanks Kathy for your input today! Hopefully you can adopt some of these caregiver tips in your Loved One’s Elder Care Journey!

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “One thing we can count on and that change”. When change happens in your family, it’s best to be prepared. Best wishes as you chart out a plan for the beloved Seniors in your life.

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