One of the most difficult things in life is accepting the changes that are a normal part of aging. The idea of having someone, even a stranger, provide assistance in the day-to-day chores of life can make you feel inadequate or depressed. Planning this heartfelt conversation ahead of time can help when it’s time to have this talk with your mom or dad.
Contemplate and Document what their Needs Truly Are
Your parents are not the young people you have known all your life. Take a serious look at their care needs. Make a list if needed.
Have they fallen?
Or, is there a history of falls? Bumps? Bruises? How often do you lay awake at night wondering if your parents are ok?
Have there been medication errors?
Are there extra pills in the bottle at refill time? Pills on the floor that are unaccounted for? With poor eyesight and sometimes mental confusion, medication errors are common and may lead to hospitalization.
Are there bathing and personal hygiene issues?
When is the last time they took a shower? Is there any history of urinary tract infections (UTIs)? These infections may lead to dramatic changes in behavior and can cause dementia quickly. Are they wearing dirty clothes, or is the house unkempt? Are things being neglected which have never been a problem for your parent in the past?
Creating a written history of this information and sharing it with your parent can help point out issues they may have forgotten, or perhaps care not to remember. Say that you love them, but you are very worried about their well-being.
Who in Your Parent’s Life is Keeping things from Falling Apart?
Families and friends have the best of intentions when caring for the elderly. Their support is a great blessing in our lives. However, they can also be enablers. “Mom might say I can live on my own! I am doing just fine!”
How much care do you, their child, provide on a regular basis? Do you call your parent several times each day to check on them? Do you go to their home to perform well checks? Are you handling their basic needs for them, such as sneaking in a load of laundry, or cooking a meal to replace their usual TV dinner or bag of popcorn?
What about the kind lady who lives down the street, is she taking your mom to the grocery store and post office every week? How much time does this take? Is it safe? Are you and this friend enabling your parent to continue living alone? Would your parent fall apart without this assistance? Document everything you do for your parents. Paying the bills. Grocery shopping. Doctor appointments. Medication runs. Housekeeping and maintenance. Personal care.
You can’t be there 24/7. Talk to your parents about the risks of falling. A fall in the garage or bathroom without being able to call for help is a very unsettling thought. These falls, unfortunately, are all too common for the elderly. Enroll your mom’s friend to help. Get the friend involved so that he or she feels they are not being left out of the situation. They may not be supportive if they feel you are doing this behind their backs, and it won’t help if they call Mom and say, “The kids are moving you where?”
Again, heartfelt concerns can help significantly.
At Last…It’s not a Nursing Home, It’s an Assisted Living Home
Nursing home… it almost feels like a four-letter word. Your parents had parents and grandparents and when they got old, they went to the “HOME.” Long dark hallways with loud cries of help and overwhelming odors. Can you blame them for not wanting to move? Today, Assisted Living facilities provide a dramatically different option for our aging society. Visit a facility today. Ask if you can bring mom or dad in for lunch. There they will be able to see peers in circumstances similar to theirs and maybe just make a friend. This can reduce their anxiety and misconceptions of what assisted living is.
Call East Shea Assisted Living Home Today…Lunch is at Noon!! J