Finding Care and Support for Aging Grandparents


Published:

When her father’s quality of life began to suffer at a quicker pace as a result of a lifelong, painful battle with a degenerative disease and Monica Barnes became dissatisfied with the care he was receiving, she immediately began researching resources that she thought would help to ease or even reverse his discomfort. The emotional task of caretaking was more difficult because she lived in Durham and her parents lived in Wilson.

Barnes’ life soon became a flurry of weekend stays with her parents, weekday trips to the doctor with her father, research and telephone calls. Barnes called on friends and family for referrals, recommendations and support, and consulted with a medical doctor for a second opinion on her father’s health.

Angela Warren has been her mother’s caretaker since Warren was 9. That was when her mother suffered traumatic injuries to both of her legs; they were crushed after being pinned to a wall when a driver’s brakes failed. Warren’s mother now suffers from lymphedema and chronic cellulitis and has been diagnosed as morbidly obese. For nearly 30 years, Warren was her mother’s primary caretaker, cooking, cleaning and dressing her mother’s legs.

Warren now lives in Alabama, but she still travels home to check on her mother. Her mother’s sister, who is local, also checks in on her. And before Warren moved, she trained her 18-year-old nephew how to care daily for her mother. Her nephew now lives with Warren’s mother.

Warren’s story differs from Barnes’ in that she and her family have chosen to shoulder the majority of her mother’s care.

Accessing care through medical resources

Barnes, who was caring for her father long-distance, says a social worker was truly her best resource before, during and after her father’s stay in the hospital. “They truly know how to navigate. She was a wealth of information,” Barnes says. “I could call her anytime about anything.”

At the conclusion of every medical appointment, the social worker would relay additional information and make referrals to outside resources that could help provide services for her father. It was the social worker who helped Barnes find a long-term care facility for her father.

Warren contemplated moving her mother to Florida, when she researched medical assistance for the type of care her mother needed, but found help closer to home thanks to information from the hospital. She relies heavily on the wound clinic at UNC Health Care’s Wound Healing Center, which monitors her mother’s care and orders her dressing supplies.

Her mother’s general practitioner referred Warren to the Cancer Center for injections to elevate her blood level production, and the hospital referred her to home health agencies and certified nursing assistants for her mom’s long-term care.

While both Warren and Barnes found the hospital staff helpful while their loved ones were under hospital care, after discharge, however, it was up to them to find consistent and continuous care. In Warren’s case, she says she reached a limit on the help she can receive due to the extent of her mother’s condition.

A disconnect between hospital and home

Reaching a limit is a reality, says Lauren Wattrell, who has a master’s in social work and owns Raleigh Geriatric Care Management, a private elder care management firm in Raleigh. “Not every situation has a solution,” she says, but options exist. Bridging the gap between hospital and home can be challenging, Wattrell agrees.

Once loved ones are released from the hospital, the connection is broken between the family members and the discharge planner, social worker or nurse. “There’s a disconnect between hospital and home,” she says.

That disconnect becomes more complex when adult caretakers work or have children of their own and must bear the responsibility for their aging parents’ medical care, Wattrell says. “They’re called the ‘sandwich generation.’ They are the peanut butter and jelly,” she says of these caretakers. The peanut butter and jelly is spread thin when the caretakers live away from aging parents and perform their duties long distance.
Just knowing where to start seems to shorten the distance between knowing you need help and finding the right help.

Wattrell is one of only 3,000 geriatric care managers in the U.S. who help find resources such as long-term care facilities, home care providers, doctors, nurses, transportation services, and even legal assistance to help integrate the loved one back home. These specialized care managers offer consultation, as well as assessment and care plans that uncover issues like depression, screening, memory measurement, nutrition screening, finance review, and support for the caregivers, such as Adult Children of Aging Parents support groups.

“The Care Plan maps out resources,” says Wattrell, who is a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and is helping to launch a nonprofit operation called Guiding Lights Caregiver Support Center in Raleigh. Slated to open in September, the agency will serve as a central referral source for family and professional caregivers. It will offer certified nursing training, a lending resource library and community outreach. Volunteers, like Wattrell, will help families with care management and even geriatric pharmacy assistance.

Caretakers can also find home- and community-based services through local agencies such as Raleigh’s Resources for Seniors (formerly the Council on Aging of Wake County). The agency has a Community Resource Database of information and referral specialists in Wake County; a directory of resources for older adults in Wake County; resource lists for home care, long-term care and housing; and an elder-care locator. For services in Durham, Orange and surrounding counties, the Triangle J Area Agency on Aging offers information and referrals.

Aging at home

Although 10 million seniors need daily help with routine tasks like bathing, eating and dressing, more than 90 percent of seniors surveyed say they want to continue living in their own homes rather than uproot for the sake of services, according to the National Council on Aging. The organization’s website further states that more than 13 million older adults could pay for help, but their money is tied up in their homes and, tragically, up to 5 million older adults are the victims of elder abuse annually.

Local councils on aging provide resources that promote dignified aging at home. For example, the Council on Aging of Johnston County provides a range of services, including caregiver support; a loaning closet; advocacy and counseling; medication management; legal assistance; access to senior centers with health and wellness programs; educational, recreational and social programs; a senior lunch program; and limited transportation services. The council also provides independent living apartments for persons older than 62 or who are disabled, as well as subsidized rent.

A geriatric adult mental health specialty team also offers training, education and consultation to support best practices in caring for people with dementia and mental health issues.

Getting support for the caretaker

“The physical health and emotional well-being, and maintaining social relationships and support, are critical for caregivers of aging loved ones,” says Jane Shirmer, executive director of the Council on Aging of Johnston County. “Caregivers need to be aware that there is support available for them.”

Shirmer reiterates the importance of community support groups that allow caregivers an opportunity to share ideas and resources and reduce the feeling of isolation.

“It is also helpful,” she says, “to look ahead. End-of-life choices can be planned in advance. When the time comes, the caregiver can move through the choices made and find peace with being prepared.”

Crystal Kimpson Roberts is a writer and communications professional who has been a mother for nearly 20 years. She lives in Smithfield.


Resources:
The Center for Volunteer Caregiving
www.volunteercaregiving.org/services/index.shtml
A private, nonprofit, faith-based organization that provides free volunteer support to Wake County seniors, family caregivers and adults with disabilities.

Eldercare Locator
www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Home.aspx
A public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging for finding local agencies to help older persons and their families access home and community-based services.

Meals on Wheels
Chapel Hill-Carrboro – www.chcmow.org
Durham – www.mowdurham.org
Wake County – www.wakemow.org/index.php
Provides nutritious meals to the homebound elderly and persons with disabilities.

National Council on Aging
www.ncoa.org
A nonprofit service and advocacy organization that works to help older adults find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently and remain active.

N.C. Division of Health and Human Services
Division of Aging and Adult Services
www.dhhs.state.nc.us/aging
State agency that promotes independence for older adults, persons with disabilities, and their families through community-based services and benefits.

Resources for Seniors
www.resourcesforseniors.com/index.php
Provides home- and community-based services and information for older and disabled adults in Wake County (formerly the Council on Aging of Wake County).

Triangle J Area
Agency on Aging
www.tjaaa.org
Regional agency that provides
education, opportunities, services and support to older adults and
information about local agencies.

 

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View map »


Sponsor: Spiritual Twist Productions
Telephone: 919-977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

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Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in February!   This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in July! This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds at...

Cost: 0 – $10

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Chip, chip, hooray! The first Zambrero in the Southeast is opening on January 24 with zingy, zesty activities! Bodacious Burritos and Bowls: $5 burritos and bowls all day Delicious Drawing: A...

Cost: Free

Where:
1 Glenwood Ave
#105
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: (919) 863-2561
Website »

More information

Just in time to keep up with those home improvement resolutions for 2020, the Downtown Raleigh Home Show returns to downtown’s Raleigh Convention Center January 24-26, 2020  with a jam-packed...

Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 12. Advance $9 tickets

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Marketplace Events
Telephone: 904-608-3823
Contact Name: Liz Morgan

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Triangle Restaurant Week (January 20-26, 2020) is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants....

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
Website »

More information

Take a hike after dark and enjoy the sights and sounds of a quiet night along the American Tobacco Trail. We will walk to the Beaver Creek bridge and back (about one mile total). Free for ages 4...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

Rumpelstiltskin-A Tale of Gold Book by Ellie FaggionMusic and Lyrics written by Brian Shrager and Ellie FaggionProduced by special arrangement with the author.Directed by Beth Wilson...

Cost: varies

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: Spiritual Twist Productions
Telephone: 919-977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

More information

David Burney, lead singer for the acclaimed Johnny Cash tribute band Johnny Folsom 4, brings his one-man show to The ArtsCenter for three shows, January 24-26, 2020.  In “Hello, I’m...

Cost: $15 to $20

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
300-G East Main Street.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 919-929-2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Join the Museum and the Raleigh Astronomy Club to help you see the big picture — of the Universe! From comet crafts to solar observing, lectures to rocket launches, space enthusiasts of all ages...

Cost: Free

Where:
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in July! This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds at...

Cost: 0 – $10

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in February!   This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »

More information

Family Wildlife Series: Tricky Tracks Saturday, January 25 10-11 a.m. Come dressed for the weather so you can roam the park learning the fine art of “tracking”.   Make a cast of an animal...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

RALEIGH (Jan. 16, 2020) – The North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools will host its first school fair during National School Choice Week on Saturday, Jan. 25. The fair will take...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: NC Association of Public Charter Schools
Telephone: 336-669-9996
Contact Name: Rhonda Dillingham
Website »

More information

Join the statewide kickoff to Black History Month at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society since 2015, the 19th...

Cost: 0

Where:
North Carolina Museum of History
5 East Edenton Street
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Just in time to keep up with those home improvement resolutions for 2020, the Downtown Raleigh Home Show returns to downtown’s Raleigh Convention Center January 24-26, 2020  with a jam-packed...

Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 12. Advance $9 tickets

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Marketplace Events
Telephone: 904-608-3823
Contact Name: Liz Morgan

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Spanish Alive is providing Family Spanish classes starting in January! Join us to learn Spanish as an entire family in an immersive, fun environment. Our teachers are trained Spanish educators and...

Cost: $75-$216

Where:
Spanish Alive
156 E. Chatham St
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Rumpelstiltskin-A Tale of Gold Book by Ellie FaggionMusic and Lyrics written by Brian Shrager and Ellie FaggionProduced by special arrangement with the author.Directed by Beth Wilson...

Cost: varies

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: Spiritual Twist Productions
Telephone: 919-977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

More information

Winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. Discover how animals deal with cold weather and which ones hibernate...

Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for all family members,& childre

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Triangle Restaurant Week (January 20-26, 2020) is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants....

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
Website »

More information

Join us in Arendelle for Frozen-inspired STEAM activities for the whole family! Included in the ticket cost is dinner and dessert for the whole family, make your own sock Olaf and Frozen bouncy...

Cost: $35 per family

Where:
Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Kidzu Children's Museum
Telephone: 919-933-1455
Website »

More information

AML Wrestling presents our 5th Anniversary Celebration! WHEN: Saturday, January 25th, 2020WHERE: Winston-Salem Fairgrounds in theHome & Garden Building 408 27th Street NW/Gate #9 Winston-Salem, NC...

Cost: $5

Where:
Winston-Salem Fairgrounds
408 27th Street NW/Gate #9
Winston-Salem, NC  27105
View map »


Sponsor: AML Wrestling
Telephone: 336-831-0646
Contact Name: Tracy Myers
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

David Burney, lead singer for the acclaimed Johnny Cash tribute band Johnny Folsom 4, brings his one-man show to The ArtsCenter for three shows, January 24-26, 2020.  In “Hello, I’m...

Cost: $15 to $20

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
300-G East Main Street.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 919-929-2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
Website »

More information

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Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.