Thursday, October 12, 2006

The answers don't come easily when an aging parent is in crisis.

I'm absolutely amazed at my dad's ability to exercise an hour at a clip, when I find it difficult putting in 20 minutes on my treadmill.

Following Dad's heart attack and stroke, I had difficulty finding help with his recovery. We were given no direction from the hospital and sadly, none from Dad's retirement community. He was hastily discharged on Christmas Eve to assisted living, a shadow of the man he'd been just days before. The doctors had said both heart attack and stroke were tiny and nearly full recovery could be expected. But I needed help. The medications the hospital used to subdue Dad and keep him compliant, left him unable to function. My research cautioned that depression was to be guarded against, and so I visited often and petitioned for Dad's return to his own apartment as soon as possible.

Although Dad's community has an exercise room and early morning group classes, Dad is hardly up before the crack of noon and was fearful of using equipment on his own, his confidence shaken. I set out to find an organized program and was stunned to find it at the very hospital where we'd been summarily dismissed just weeks before. When I called to see if they offered programs with instruction at their Wellness Center, I was made aware of a Medicare covered cardiac rehab program Dad qualified for. Wearing a small telemetry bib, transmitting vital information to a monitored computer, Dad would receive instruction and exercise 3 times a week. What a relief! I couldn't ask for anything more, except to have been told about this by the hospital upon Dad's discharge.

Following an emergency with an aging parent you may well find that you are on your own. Sadly, the failure of professionals to step forward with guidance is too often the norm. It's my sincere hope that dialogue, among Boomers, will help ease the way for those who follow.

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