April 21, 2010
Caring for the Elderly may be your lot if your parents don’t pass away young. At some point, you are going to begin helping them with the everyday affairs of life.
Your involvement may escalate as they grow older and have more needs. You may find yourself a full-fledged caregiver for one or both of your parents if they reach a time that they cannot live independently.
However, as they age, you may have to step in and make a few minor changes in their living environment so they will feel safe and comfortable. It’s wonderful to see parents grow old together and still have the opportunity to live in their own home.
1. If at all possible, create their living space on one level. Stairs can be difficult to climb as well as a hazard for an elderly person. It may even require a bit of remodeling to make sure the kitchen, living area, bedroom and bath are on the same level. A laundry room must also be provided on the same floor.
2. Reorganize drawers and cupboards so your parents will be able to find what they need easily. Placing dishes, linens, and important appliances at eye level will eliminated the need for them to stand on a stool to reach them.
3. Services like shopping, house cleaning, simple repairs can be handled by outside services that are set up for helping the elderly. However, if they cost a bit more than your folks can afford, you may be the one taking on these responsibilities. Set up a schedule for these needs to be handled that will be convenient for you both of you.
4. If your parents can be responsible to take their medications correctly, by all means let them do it. However, if they need to be monitored, medications can be given by home health care professional who will drop in once a day to administer them.
5. If necessary, put grab bars in the bathtub, and other places where your folks may need additional support. Also, make sure they have enough light so they will have plenty of visibility.
With a little planning, you can help your folks keep their independence in their own home. This will allow you to slowly ease into care giving before extensive care is needed in the future.
P.S. My mom just turned 90 and is needing full time care. I’m grateful to have 3 sisters that share in the care giving responsibilities.
January 2, 2010
Caring for the elderly is still a family responsibility even amid the talk of long-term-care insurance. Eventually, decisions have to be made by the family concerning the care of aging parents.
Rest homes are expensive, so caring for aging parents often falls to family members. Caring for an aging parent in their own home, where their surroundings are familiar, is the most ideal… but not always possible. Therefore, moving an aging father or mother into a family members home is the next preferable alternative.
My mom will be 90 years old in March and up until about two years ago she had remarkable health. After a bout with the flu, her health declined immediately. She is fragile, and her mind is suffering with dementia. Fortunately, my sisters and I are able to care for Mom in her own home.
The New York Times reports that 67 percent of all caregivers are women and since women generally live longer than men, most of the care is given to elderly moms.
Often, daughters step forward for a number of reasons: because no other family member is willing to step forward or able to provide adequate care, or paid services are economically not possible.
“Our gender norms tend to assign women greater moral responsibility than men for family care,” states the New York Times.
This caregiving experiences has not been easy for us… or my mom. She has always been pretty independent and resents the fact we are in her home all the time.
Of course, we don’t know how much longer Mom will be with us, so we will continue to try and make her as comfortable as possible… after all, she’s our Mom.
P.S. It’s not too early to determine what you will do about caring for your aging parents. Because I’m an aging parent, I have long-term-care insurance…and it’s one of my better decisions.
August 3, 2008
The challenge of caregiving is keeping your own sanity. I swear, if my mom opens the fridge and says, “What am I going to do with all the cheese?,” one more time, I’m going scream, pull out my hair and run for the piny woods. She can’t remember that she just opened the fridge and uttered those exact words just ten minutes before.
My little 88 year old mom is suffering from serious dementia and is needing consistent and constant care from my sisters and me. I’m the oldest of 6 daughters, and the responsibility for mom rests on four of us who live close by. We take turns as caregivers for her needs as we watch the devastating results of memory loss.
My mom has always had eating issues… “I don’t what to get fat.” (She’s under 100 pounds.) So, getting her to eat has has been an extra challenge the last several months since her dramatic down turn.
We keep cheese on hand to add to her morning scramble eggs for added calories. For some reason,seeing the block of cheese in her fridge sends into a frenzy… as does the rolls we just bought and the Stoffers dinners we just put in her freezer. “Take these home… I don’t need them.”
One who is in excellent physical health and, up until very recently, had pretty good mental health…this is certainly a blow and a traumatic experience for her. She’s frustrated when she can’t remember present time events and becomes confused easily. “I just can’t get my brain to work right.”
As patient as I try to be… it just gets to me after the fifth or sixth time. “Shut the damn fridge and don’t look at the cheese.” Then I go away feeling guilty. Being he caregiver, isn’t easy either.
After a three day stretch of caregivng, I see my sisters tired, and frustrated too. Right now… we all face the unknown. Will she stay the same for awhile? How much worse will she get? Should we get outside help?
I recently told my kids, I was going to get a document which states: “When I’m nutty-er than a fruit cake, shoot me or put in a home….let someone else be the caregiver.” Save the relationship! ” Oh mom… we would never do that!” Wanna make a bet…I insist! I hope I have the last word.
Hold on Nana… things could be worse!
P.S. We’re hiding the block of cheese…for all of our sakes!