We want to help our elderly loved ones, but what’s the best way?
LISTEN and AFFIRM
Growing old, looking at the end of life, the scary things like health issues and financial security. Whew!
I was very blessed to have an elderly best friend who would remind me that I was not where she was. She was looking at the end of her marathon with life while I was very much still in the game. It’s a different perspective. We need to understand and patiently listen. Listen to their old stories we’ve may have heard many times. Listen to their wishes. Have compassion with their health challenges. Be supportive but not overwhelming with ideas or worse, trying to control them.
Most folks who are vigilent about their financial resourses are not going to run out of money, but it’s a real concern. Help with a budget but only if asked. Many are afraid of the cost of health care helpers, but can well afford this service and it is much cheaper than living in a nursing home. The stranger may never take care of your loved as well as you. The home environment, as long as it is safe, is the better option.
Safe? What constitutes a safe environment?
Is it easy for them to get around in the home and exit when necessary?
Can they self clothe and bathe? Are they doing that regularly?
Are they eating healthy food regularly? Is there old food in the fridge?
Does someone visit regularly? Are doctor visits regular?
Ways you can help:
Money management. It can lessen stress if you hire a reputable bookkeeper to help manage the checkbook when the elderly person begins to struggle with this. This should be monitored by family.
Hire a housekeeper not only to keep things tidy, but to help monitor the environment. A home care giver is also great and could come just weekly for a few hours to get your loved one used to the change. That worker should affirm they are there to come along side of the senior, not to change the way things are done.
Go with them to the doctor so you can hear how they are doing. Or get written permission to communicate with the health care professionals. And stay on top of their medications so you know what’s being taken in case of emergency. You might also suggest a life alert type of emergency service.
Involve them in as much of the decision making process as possible.
Not sure how to move forward when things become a challenge, consult another family member or someone you trust for perspective. That’s one of the things I do for family, friends as well as clients.