CAREGIVING FOR ELDERLY LOVED ONES AT HOME

Nov 23rd, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

National Family and Caregiver Month

It’s National Family and Caregiver month.  Over 65 million people in the United States provide care for elderly or chronically ill loved ones. Most, but certainly not all, are women.

This Senior Editor is having her first full-fledged experience as a caregiver.  We chose to bring my mother-in-law with us when we recently made a 1200 mile move from Texas to Arizona. She had been in nursing home care for a year, and in assisted living for five years before that.  She wasn’t happy, and certainly was not thriving.  I genuinely felt I could provide care for her better than she had in the nursing home.  I could bring in home health care for showering, personal care, dressing and attending to a variety of her needs as a 93 year old woman.  My husband and I talked about it a long time, and decided this was what we wanted to do.

We now know we made the right decision.

The Good Outweighs the Bad

My MIL is thriving.  Although she has some down-in-the-dumps days, she is clearly happier and healthier than she was in the nursing home. As is true of most elders her age, she wants to do more than she is able.  I still pick up pills off the floor when she tries to take them herself.  She tries to reach for something that is out of her reach, and ends up on the floor.  She tries to walk without her walker and usually goes down, although she has mostly mastered the art of ‘furniture walking’.  Mostly.

There are other small issues, the details of which are unimportant, that we wish would go away.  But lifelong behavior isn’t likely to change at 93, and it’s getting easier for us to ignore and overlook what isn’t going to change.

What is important is knowing we did the right thing.  We clearly cannot care for her ourselves.  But with appropriate help coming into our home, and with our resolve to love and care for her to the day she dies, we know having her in our home these last days is good for us all.

More caregiving tips are available at this site.  Happy Caregiving Month to all you senior caregivers out there!



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