SENIORS: SUPPORT ELDERLY PARENTS

Sep 30th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Daily Support for Elderly Parents

Usually twice a day now, morning and afternoon, we have established the pattern of contacting my 91, almost 92, year old Mom.  We go in to town with considerable frequency to check on her and spend a little time with her. Her health, energy, balance and cognitive issues seem to be more and more compromised.  As pointed out in a recent article, her situation is not imminent, in terms of dying, but it is necessary we stay alert.

More and more of us are facing the need to be aware of our elderly parents’ welfare. They are living longer and facing more and more challenges as they do so. Assisted Living facilities offer care for those who have some remaining independence.  Skilled Nursing is ordinarily the next step, when fewer abilities enable one to take care of themselves quite so well.  Every phase is a challenge.  Depending on the issues involved with your loved one, more and more attention is demanded as their issues of care needs increase.

It is an exhausting and emotionally draining experience for everyone.  Knowing how to be alert to increasing care needs means spending more time observing behaviors.  It also means staying on top of those needs in ways that helps care receiver and care givers to be appropriately responsive.

Staying in touch is the primary means for establishing a link that will assist quick and ready attention being offered as indicators suggest.  Living nearby is a major advantage.  Having family members or friends check in frequently is of major importance. Arranging for someone to exercise watchful care and to report to someone who is the designated guardian will assure attention being given in a timely manner.

Communication and Staying in Touch

Before the decision is made to locate a family member in a care facility, consideration needs to be given to needs beyond that which the facility offers.  While a care receiver may develop healthy relationships with employees, there is nothing to take the place of a family member or good friend being in frequent contact.

Because the care receiver loses some independence in whatever kind of facility they move into, it is important that they have some sense of being able to do some things for themselves.

Before the time comes that those possibilities are even more limited, helping the care receiver to feel good about themselves, respected, loved, reinforced, and enabled to do as much as they can is extremely important. That means having frequent and intentional contact.  Even if you have little to talk about, touch base anyway.  Call.  If email is an option, use it.  Drop by for a visit.  Encourage others to do so as well.  Whatever means employed, take the initiative to communicate.



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