Responding to the Crisis Call

Posted by on Sep 15, 2021 in Caregiving, Health Emergencies | 2 comments

What can you do when you get the call that your parent has a health or medical crisis? You are likely to feel the pull of trying to be in two places at the same time. Now is the time to recruit help, both personal and professional, to assist you.  What kind of help is available? Financial resources will influence some of these suggestions. Consider the following ideas:

  • Inquire about public health care services such as home care, companion programs, and palliative care programs. Be sure that your parent is receiving the services that are available.
  • In the hospital or long-term-care settings, talk to the care providers, particularly, the physician, the nurse in charge, and members of the interdisciplinary team (i.e. physiotherapist, social worker, dietitian). Get their contact information, including email and provide yours, so that you can keep in touch even at a distance. Ask your parent for permission to be included in care planning.
  • Inquire about “geriatric” services in the hospital or community. These health care providers have specialized in care of older persons. You might find a Geriatrician or a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist who will help guide your family through the process.
  • Check out private services, such as personal and private care, to provide some respite for you.
  • Recruit help from family and friends. Your parents might have very close friends who are willing to take on some responsibilities such as visiting, checking the house or minding the pets. These friends might know the community resources better than you – ask their advice.
  • Take care of yourself!  You need to attend to your own physical, emotional and mental health needs and this might mean that you cannot always do what others expect or what you demand of yourself! When called upon to support an ailing parent, we often do not know the timeline involved; the demands might go on for many months. We need to pace ourselves or we risk burning out.
Helping a parent can take its toll. Mobilizing your support network and finding services can help you to be supportive without wearing yourself out.




  1. Are there specific services available in Alberta?

  2. This is a good article — thanks.

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