Dear Janie,

My children are grown, and I have a career now and it’s a major commitment. My parents ha have reached a time when they can’t really manage life on their own. They came over from the old country before I was born and they are still very old fashioned. My father makes all the decisions and Momma’s job is to keep him happy. Recently he’s become very forgetful. He can’t drive anymore and she isn’t used to being in charge. I know I need to become more involved in their care, but they live hours away. I am overwhelmed by the number of ways they need my help and the amount of time it takes to gather and maintain all the information I need to track so I can manage their care from afar. I have no idea what their wishes are for when the time comes that I have to help make decisions on their behalf. It’s not just for healthcare either. I’m having to help more with their finances too. I am nervous about how I’ll manage all this. Am I going to have to quit my job in order to take care of Mom and Dad?



Dear Ava, 

I went through a similar struggle when my parents were in their mid-seventies. It came on very quickly. It seemed like one day they were doing everything for themselves and the next day they needed help with everything. It wasn’t just doctor’s appointments and bill paying, they needed help making a plan about where they should live, how they could get around if they stopped driving, and what activities to continue doing and what to give up. They needed help and input on a lot of decisions. The hardest and most time consuming part was collecting all the information I needed. I had to dig through file cabinet and make lists of all the doctors, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, lawyers, tax accountants, magazine subscriptions, even organizations receiving charitable donations. My Dad had a file cabinet, but in order for my sister and me to share the responsibilities, we converted all the information to a digital repository we both could access and update. I also thought about quitting my job during those days, but with support from my family and friends, we worked through setting up a system that made it all easier to manage.

The MyPHD PHR solution will make things easier for you because it is already set up to help you record the information we know you need to gather and manage. Direct Secure Messaging will make sharing medical information possible via e-mail. That means you can do so much more without being present for every appointment or meeting. We have a weekly open chat session you can join. Many Janie Appleseed Network members are facing the same challenges as you. The open chat sessions allows us to share ideas about how we’re using information technology to take better care of ourselves and our family members. It’s a great way to get information and gain new skills that will help you in your role as “designated daughter”.

Be Well,