Raising Wilshire's Grandparents

Blogoir about caregiving for Asian American immigrant parents

Updates 9/9

Because caregiving never ends

My mom has been very busy as a Census door knocker for the past two weeks. She’s been assigned to work in Ocean Park but will transition soon to a community that needs her native Thai language skills. I am so stinking proud of her. She took a suggestion from Juan that was on a lark, and ran with it.

This work has been grueling – hours on foot, through heat waves and mediocre air quality. It’s different from her prior jobs in catering sales. Where could she go from here? I’m imagining door knocking for political organizing.

My dad… got his hip replacement after all, but in Bangkok. The steps for coordinating his PT and custodial care there was so much less taxing. My sister is easier on herself, and did not find reasons to hate everyone she encountered in coordinating this the way I did, because they worked for Kaiser and had shitty customer service. My sister asked one of our cousins for recommendations, and made things happen. Dad was hospitalized for four nights, and his PT started immediately in his recovery room. Then he transferred to a rehab facility recommended by his surgical team.

Back in the US, I would have been completely on my own to arrange his recovery. Kaiser, my father’s insurer, handed me a printed brochure of licensed rehabs and congregate living facilities, and told me good luck. His coverage included 100 days of free skilled nursing but Kaiser made it clear he would not be availed of it. He needed round the clock care and I would have had to arrange the home health aides myself, and to pay for it out of pocket. I also would have had to arrange his transportation for PT and all of his meals. Lastly, this was supposed to go down in March during COVID. The Kaiser model assumed everyone had a loving caretaker without a job.