Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

ADRC Helped Hillsboro Woman Find Important Local Resources for Her Parents
Susan Turpin of Hillsboro found herself in a situation last summer that she had never dreamed would happen. Both of her elderly parents suddenly became dependent upon her.

Although her mother had a chronic health issue, her father had always been healthy and could provide care at home. Unexpectedly, her father became ill and could no longer care for his wife. He needed someone to care for him. Susan, a retired school district employee, is the only family member in the area. She suddenly became the primary caregiver for both of her parents. This became a 24-hour job as she would shuttle between her home and theirs.

"I was thrust into a situation I wasn't fully prepared for," Susan said. "Care-giving on my own consumed the time otherwise needed to arrange the appropriate short and-long term care and support for both my parents. I thought to myself, what do I do now? Where do I start? I cannot do this by myself."

Susan was referred to an options counselor through her parents' health care provider. Options counseling is a free service offered through the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC). It is designed to help people find information in their local communities on a full range of care options such as adult foster care, residential care facilities, home-delivered meals, long-term-care living options, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, Medicare counseling, and transportation. It is funded by the Oregon Department of Human Services through federal grants.

"When Susan called me she had many questions about what her next steps should be to help her parents," said Amy Vlahos, options counselor and aging services coordinator in Washington County. "She explained to me her parents could no longer drive and could only be alone for short periods of time. I made a home visit to best understand the current arrangements and to be able to offer them all options to consider, including both future and immediate needs as well as their costs."

Initially, Amy was able to provide some respite care, meaning a home care worker came to Susan's parent's home to provide care, freeing Susan so she could go on visits to residential facilities and have some time to run errands.

"Amy gave me a packet of information on the resources available in Washington County so I did not have to start out making cold calls," Susan said. "This was very helpful as it included the appropriate names and numbers of contact persons at each facility. The respite care allowed me the time to really research the options thoroughly for my parents," she said. "I was also provided some counseling sessions to deal with the stress of care giving."

"I was exhausted," Susan said. "I see now that I just wasn't prepared for this situation, even though deep down I probably knew the possibility existed."

Susan's parents are now living in a residential care facility nearby and according to Susan, are adjusting to the change."Amy really got me started and filled in the gap for me. The options counseling was very helpful for our family and pointed us in the right direction," Susan said.

"We are here to help people learn about the options available in their communities, how to set things up and how to navigate the system," Amy explained. "We make home visits and help assess the situation to see what kind of help they need. And we are here to help people plan in advance before it becomes a crisis situation."

For more information on the ADRC and resources in your local community, go to www.adrcoforegon.org.