A force to be reckoned with…and I mean Pat, not the dementia. Kudo’s to Pat Summitt for coming forward and sharing her story. Anyone that has dementia or has been involved with those suffering from this diagnosis is aware of the changes it brings to your life and that of your family. However, strength can be garnered by the support of family and friends as Coach Summitt and her team will show us this season…
Tag Archives: support
It’s important to realize, that as a caregiver, you are not alone. Articles such as the one recently written by Lee Woodruff in Huff Post portrays the many emotions and confusion all family caregivers may struggle through at one time or another. For additional information and support as it relates to non-medical senior care please click here for additional information.
Geriatric specialists note that no matter how many adult children make up a family, the responsibilities are not equally shared when parent care becomes necessary. Often one adult child emerges as the primary caregiver. If you are not the primary caregiver, maintain a sensitivity to the one who handles most of the responsibility.
Ann Landers, the advice columnist received this letter to her column…
“This is for all the sisters and brothers of caregivers who are `too busy’ with their own lives to lend a hand,” she begins. “A few years ago my life changed when my mother became ill with a progressive disease. I put all my plans on hold and little by little gave up visiting my friends, doing volunteer work, socializing, attending night school, and spending time with my husband. I now must use all my `free time’ to take my parents to their doctors’ appointments and tend to their needs. I am not complaining. My parents are wonderful people, and I consider it a privilege to care for them, but I am upset because my siblings do nothing to help me.”
Many times we are just not aware of the effort our sibling is putting into the care of our parent…we are most times too consumed with our own life and hence we just accept that the caregiver sibling is fine…I mean after-all she is not complaining …she hasn’t said anything. So a little advice to the ‘lesser’ caregivers…If another member of your family is carrying most of the load, do whatever you can to pitch in and help. If you are geographically distant, consider using some of your vacation time to provide care for the aging parent, giving the primary caregiver some time off. Or if you live nearby, call the primary caregiver and offer your services a few hours per week…if you are unable to physically help, consider calling in a service such as Home Instead Senior Care to help out.
Finally, as caregiver to an aging parent, be sure you know and respect your own limits. Otherwise you run the risk of becoming exhausted, sick, depressed, and burned out. In that condition you will not be helpful to aging parents or anyone else. Do make time for yourself and find ways to nurture your body and spirit.
I believe most of us try our best when caregiving duties for our parents emerge. And since many of our parents are opting to stay at home…here are a few tips to keep them injury free.
Many times we are not paying attention to those obstacles that may be hazardous to our elderly parents so bring your ‘keen eye’ and let’s review what steps you might take to eliminate some of the bathroom dangers:
Replace a standard toilet with a comfort-height version
Add grab bars in the shower, tub and toilet areas…proactive support saves unneeded injuries from occurring
Replace knob-style faucets with lever-handled faucets.
If your parent uses a wheelchair, replace a standard vanity with one designed for wheelchair use and height
Replace counter tops in the bathroom with rounded-cornered versions…nothing hurts more than banging into a sharp corner
Increase the lighting
Make sure the shower valve is a non-scald version
Add a bench to the shower stall…shaving legs standing up just isn’t that easy after 60!
Replace the tub with a shower and make it a walk-in version
Check the vent fan… is it working properly …mold hazards cause illness among even the healthiest of people
Replace smooth, slick flooring with a more textured tile…there are many options on the market today that have a ‘stick-like’ quality to them…more abrasive so wet feet don’t slip and slide
They are disputes that start quietly but brew into volcanic pressure and believe it or not they can split families apart.
Mom’s left a pot boiling on the stove again, so her daughters want her to give up her house.
An elderly father is getting forgetful and isn’t paying his monthly bills. His children who live far away find out that dad’s heat and electricity were turned off. One son wants to get his father declared mentally incompetent, so the family can take control of his finances. Dad gets angry when the kids try to help. He doesn’t want his kids to know how much money he has and how his finances are organized.
Dad’s got more scrapes on his car than the grandkids do on their knees so let’s take his car keys. The kids warn their father that they are going to take away his car keys. He threatens to write them out of his will. The father knows he isn’t driving well anymore but he just doesn’t want to give the keys up, especially to his children.
Might be time to call in a family mediator. Mediators come in as a neutral third-party to help families negotiate difficult situations and choices. With mediation, the family members, along with the parent, can usually come up with a unified solution.
Trickiest of all are the family dynamics. Unfortunately it is fairly common to hear one sibling reacting bitterly towards another. Long-established family roles can play out the minute siblings walk into mediation.
Good mediators make sure that the parents’ voice is heard… even if that person has Alzheimer’s or dementia and might have trouble following the conversation. Even with limitations on their capacity, people still have the ability to say whom and what family member they are most comfortable with…whom they respect, and trust, and where they like to live. They may not have the capability to make substantial legal or financial decisions, but they certainly have the ability to express opinions, wishes and desires.
The field of elder mediation is growing and has benefits over taking family disputes to court. Mediation provides an opportunity to come together, make decisions that tend to work as opposed to litigation that can be more expensive and more contentious. Mediation allows the ‘family’ to remain connected and feeling good about the consensus they have reached.
Although the field of ‘elder mediation’ is new and so far has little regulation, there are avenues to research:
State and community mediation centers.
Ask your local Council on Aging or Home Care Service for assistance in locating someone who has experience in this field.
And always feel free to contact us at Home Instead Senior Care….
Did you know that nine out of 10 people older than 60 want to stay in their homes as long as possible and that they are able to do that thanks to new technologies — like sensors alerting family members of a problem — and the help of neighbors and caretakers? According to the AARP seniors are opting to stay in their homes more often…
In an earlier post I had mentioned that Diane Sawyer was running a week-long series on Senior Care…today’s episode (Friday) highlighted Home Instead Senior Care. To hear the entire segment click here…Home Instead Senior Care highlighted on CBS…with Diane Sawyer
We were NOT told that any home with multiple stories would wreak havoc on the kneecaps or that a steady banister on each side of the stairs would actually be useful.
We were NOT told that anniversaries, holidays and birthdays need to be celebrated with a designated driver. No one wanted to admit that one alcoholic beverage could knock them out or that caffeine would keep them up all night.
We were NOT told to put our house or car keys in the same spot every day so we didn’t have to rely on memory to find them.
No one told us to beware of identity theft or mentioned the invasiveness of security checks at the airport because of terrorism..no one wants to admit that their finances and body just ain’t what it used to be…
We were NOT told about constant maintenance and more maintenance of the mind, body and spirit. We were NOT told about the exhaustion that came with all that constant maintenance as well as a waistline that would continue to bloom regardless of what we did to decrease it.
Finally, We were NOT told our parents were going to NEED us or how we should take care of them. Thankfully…the Baby Boomer generation has made head way in that direction…For information on how to better care for yourself and aging parents…click here.
Are your parents ill? Have you needed to step in and assume some of their care?
If the answer is yes, you are probably already aware that it can sometimes be difficult taking care of your parents….many times the parent does NOT want the child to be in charge.
You can make the adjustment easier and certainly more smooth by just letting your parent(s) know you are there for them when they need you…that you have no plans to impede their independence…you are just helping out until they get better or no longer need your assistance.
Put yourself in their shoes…are you fairly set in your ways? Remember then, so are they…it may be hard for them to fathom that they are now needing care FROM their children!
If your parents are still mentally astute continue to let them handle those things that require that capability…and allow the decision-making to be theirs as it regards the future steps that may need to be taken. Doing this will help ease some of the stress both you and your parents may feel about the ‘role’ reversal.
Once you start caregiving for someone you can easily fall prey to being the ‘martyr’ and may start to first ignore and then lose a part of your own personal life. It is important to keep your life and your parent(s) life separate…if you are finding that this is too difficult to do…reach out for assistance. There are lots of avenues and resources to aid you in these trying times.
“Hi Mom, I’m gonna throw a load in the washer and get the dishwasher started. Have you eaten yet? If not I brought over a plate with some left-overs from our dinner last night. I know I am late… sorry. I only have a couple of minutes until I have to pick up the kids from school. I’ll try to stop by later to switch over the laundry otherwise I’ll stop by tomorrow. Did you take your pills? Mom…how come your still in your PJ’s? Is everything OK…are you feeling alright? Are you sure? OK… Gotta run, see you tomorrow or the next day! Luv ya!”
If you can relate to the above…you are not alone. More than 1 in 5 people who live in the same town as their parents are current caregivers for at least one aging parent. Another 1 in 5 has been a senior caregiver in the past.
Recent surveys show that over 97% of people over the age of 50 say they would prefer to remain at home receiving homecare services, rather than move into an institutional setting.
However, self-care is not always possible and parents then turn to their children (most times daughters) for assistance. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to be there consistently. Trying to run two households can be demanding and downright impossible.
When your parents self-care (with your help) has become difficult or your time is limited or over-burdened to do the volume of work that your parent(s) may need you may want to look for some assistance. Doing so can relieve family members of continuous ‘caregiving’ and makes it possible for them to spend quality time with their aging parents, rather than the just being with their parents for ‘caregiving’ functions.
Caring for a senior can sometimes be a difficult and trying job. That is why when I find an enlightening story on another blog or website I like to post it here. Sharing your trials and tribulations with others can be helpful and healing…I saw this story earlier today and thought it might be relevant to our readers.
I was taking my 94-year-old Mom out one day and feeling stressed. My job and the caregiving were getting the best of me. When we arrived at our destination, I got out of the car, went around to get her and as always, reached over to unbuckle her seatbelt. In a moment of sheer frustration, I said “Gee Mom, you’d think a college graduate could learn to unbuckle her seatbelt!” We laughed a bit, but she knew my fuse was shortening by the second. For the FULL Story…