An elder care navigator provides tips and resources for people who, by choice or by chance, find themselves caring for older adults.
Blankenship was in her 40s when she discovered that the needs of aging parents can change “both suddenly and at a snail’s pace.” Faced with providing long-distance support to her elderly mother and more intensive help to a father-in-law living with cancer, while also juggling the needs of her young child, Blankenship put the organizational skills she had learned in business to a different and more personal use. Realizing that most people will find themselves, at some point in their lives, in the position of taking care of elder loved ones, she launched a career as an elder care navigator, helping others negotiate this emotionally fraught territory and creating a guide to share the knowledge she gained along the way. Drawing on her professional skills and personal experience, she offers concrete and practical advice for those faced with caring for aging relatives, from evaluating the needs of those not quite ready to admit they require help in Chapter 2, “Calling Their Bluff,” to the aftermath of death in Chapters 17, “The Exit Ramp,” and 18, “Dealing With the Remains.” Blankenship’s writing is reader friendly and entertaining, defusing an often traumatic experience with humor and helpful tools such as questions for evaluating nursing homes. Bullet-pointed lists offer guidance in evaluating elders’ financial and medical health and the activities of daily living that affect their ability to remain independent. Ideas such as appointment journals and medical portfolios are creative and helpful. One hitch in the carefully laid-out suggestions is that readers may be unlikely to consult a book such as Blankenship’s guide until their relatives are well past the point of acquiring the long-term care insurance she recommends or taking other steps that could make life easier. Even these latecomers, however, will find much to learn and implement in Blankenship’s organizational processes and resource lists.
A wryly humorous and pragmatic guide to helping loved ones negotiate the changes of old age.