Book Review: WHEN MOM AND DAD NEED HELP

            I honestly wish I could have read this book before my father’s health began to seriously decline.  Had that been the case, it’s likely my mother and I would not have felt so overwhelmed and as if scrambling all the time to find the best options for his care.
            In WHEN MOM AND DAD NEED HELP, by author Mike Campbell, the adult children of aging parents are fortunate to have a most valuable resource at hand.  Thorough and complete, this book clearly covers the wealth of options available to you when your parents need help.  Mr. Campbell reveals the pros and cons of everything from having your parents move in with you, to adult day and home care services, to independent and assisted living, as well as dementia care, nursing facilities, and hospice care.  He also details relative costs of each option you could possibly choose with your aging parents, besides where support opportunities may be found.
            As any who have experienced this stage of life will attest, this is not an easy time for all involved.  Routinely, it seems, things go until the 13th hour before a necessary adjustment in living or care arrangements transpire, and often only after a traumatic event precipitates the transition.  Whether it is a fall, growing cognitive problems, a stroke, or whatever else that usually forces the living adjustment, Mr. Campbell recognizes that such desperate situations need not be the case.  Accordingly, in the early chapters of the book, the author details many of the telltale signs and indicators that point to the necessity of an aging parent possibly needing some form of assistance or care.  And, no doubt, if adult children of aging parents paid more attention to these warning signs, much of the stress and anxiety surrounding these difficult times might be alleviated.
            Wisely then, the author stresses the importance of proactively discussing long-term care needs with aging parents and planning for the inevitable before it becomes absolutely necessary.  He also brings up multiple approaches for engaging in this difficult but necessary discourse, all in an effort to make the inevitable life changes as comfortable as possible for all involved.
            As adult children and aging parents eventually come to agree that some form of additional help is necessary with aging parents, the author outlines a five-step process to selecting the best senior housing and care option for one’s aging mom or dad.  This includes assessing parents’ current and future care and assistance needs, identifying all senior housing and care options available in their area, conducting telephone surveys of senior housing/care options, conducting in-person interviews of the same, and making your final evaluation and decision.
            An admirable counterpart and complement to WHEN MOM AND DAD NEED HELP can be found on author Mike Campbell’s website at www.iffenwen.com.  Here the adult child of aging parents can find free checklists to conduct telephone surveys, tours, and interviews of various senior housing and care options.  These checklists are very powerful tools whether you are interested in home care, adult day services, assisted living, nursing care, or Alzheimer’s/dementia and hospice for your parents.  As the website notes regarding these eighteen free checklists: “It’s like having your own personal long-term care expert assisting you through each step!”
            Mr. Campbell concludes his book with chapters about helping parents cope with their new environment and more regarding how essential planning ahead for aging parents can be.  An informative section about long-term health care insurance can be found as well – with a subtitle, “Is it worth it?”
            Sooner or later, nearly everyone will find himself or herself in the situation of being either an aging parent, or an adult child of an aging parent.  What Mr. Campbell has done with WHEN MOM AND DAD NEED HELP is to give us all a viable and exhaustive roadmap for successfully traversing these difficult and stressful times.  My expectation is that this book will prove itself a valuable resource to more and more people in the years to come.  Thank you, Mr. Campbell, for the time and effort you expended in writing this book!