DURING ONE OF MY REGULAR VISITS to my 91-year-old mother’s nursing home in North Andover, I noticed she was slightly askew in her wheelchair. No big deal — one of the facility’s excellent health care aides propped her up. But as anyone caring for an aging parent can attest, even minor problems can quickly become big ones if not caught early. And as my mother’s only local child, I am the designated catcher of such problems, not to mention for more serious crises that can pop up 24/7.
Compared with other folks I know who are caring for their aging parents, I’m lucky. My father left enough money for my mother to stay in her own apartment and then move into a good nursing home, with private aides to offer additional companionship and assistance. I have a wife who oversaw her own mother’s care to help me with my mother’s care, as well as a brother who, though he lives 700 miles away, visits often and is always available to help deal with problems (as a doctor, he can also handle the medical clutter).