Archive for aging

Making Peace with Downsizing

elderly womanIt’s not easy to give up a home you’ve lived in for years, maybe decades, even when you know it’s the best thing for you to do.

Let’s just say it: Change is scary.

And moving somewhere different, maybe to a different neighbourhood, or even a different town altogether, is a HUGE change.

Downsizing adds a whole new layer to all that. Having to choose which of your possessions you can take with you, and what you’re going to do with everything else, is tough.

Just know that you’re not alone in all this.

I’ve dealt with many individuals who have left their homes to move to a retirement home. I also have personal experience coping with family and parent illness and understand all this encompasses.  I know the emotional difficulties of the transitional steps one may take in caring for their aging loved ones. I’ll be happy to help you and your family to cope with downsizing and entering the next stage of life.

But if you’re not ready for that (and I understand if you’re not – it is a big deal, after all) you might take comfort in reading an e-book written by one of my American colleagues. It’s called Making Peace with Downsizing and you can download it free of charge.

Then, when you’re ready to take the first step, complete our free questionnaire. We’ll help you evaluate your situation and prepare for the next phase in your lives.

‘Time or No Time’ Say No to Compromise to the Needs of Your Elderly

old woman readingThere is a common viewpoint that as people, we have become less sensitive to the core morals and ethics which we were taught as we grew up. We all have superfast lives and time management has become increasingly difficult. And taking care of the elderly has become a sensitive issue.

For those who have lost their perspective, and are looking for a reason, a reason to go through all of the pain of the elderly together, we might contemplate why they act the way they do and why are they in need of the care and time. They come across the qualms of memory lapse and forgetfulness, with the growing anxiety of being in unfamiliar surroundings. And then there is the frustration budding due to their dependence on walkers, canes, oxygen supplies or wheelchairs. It is not uncommon for people to not have had a perfect childhood or a pretty ‘messed up’ relationship with their parents. But the smart thing to do is to look forward and not in the past, therein lays the answer. You know that if you could turn back in time, both of you would have done everything in your power to ensure that things were different. However hard it might be, happiness will always be in forgiving and forgetting.

Job is keeping you busy?

Even if you have a job that keeps you busy or you are too busy taking care of your home and children, you can always find time to be there for your elderly, by the little things you do. Being the caretaker of your parents can be hectic. But life is not easy. Give them due time and attention with a stance of love, not compulsion or something you got to do. Spending the traditional holidays by themselves can be the most overwhelming feeling for them. So make it a point to be with them and enjoy some quality time.

Engage Engage Engage!!

Talk about life, work, their life experience and you might be surprised to hear their responses and their happy faces. Play a game or watch a movie over television. Gift them a special comforter or a pashmina or their favourite cookies. Make the holidays what it’s really about- family. Give them a soothing hand or back massage. If you have children, leave them for some time with their grandparents as this is one thing that every elderly craves for.

And when the holidays are not around, it never takes up a whole lot of your time to check up on them once in a while, say every other weekend or visiting them with flowers unannounced on your way back from work and help them make dinner.

Make your elderly feel your presence

Some might be embarrassed of their deteriorating mental and physical functioning, empathize. If they are in a facility, give them a warm hug and smile every time, ask how they feel. Try to spend an afternoon with them during weekends. If suffering from dementia, give them a picture book, which they can comprehend easily and enjoy. And enjoy their peculiarities, embrace them. You might be short of patience at times, but fight back your frustration and echo it to your dignity that they deserve the best.

It is a universally known fact that one day we will be in their shoes and have to go through what they are going through now. But don’t make it the reason to care for them. Do it because you love them, and they were there, wishing all the best things for you all along.

Today’s guest post is contributed by Suzie Hart. She works for a home health agency who try to make people more aware of their rights so that they can lead a more dignified and happy life.

Image courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Helping Elderly Parents Transition to a Nursing Home

family visit at Grandma’s nursing homeAt some point, allowing your elderly parents to live alone in their own home will mean a safety or health risk, which means it’s time to move your elderly parents into a nursing home. This is one of the most difficult decisions for a senior. It’s imperative that friends and family understand that many elderly individuals feel a loss of independence during this process. There are things you can do to help your parents through this process and make even the most difficult transition a smooth process.

Moving is an Emotional Process for Elderly Parents

While you may be tempted to think of the move in terms of practicality, moving can be a very emotional process. Transitioning from a large house to one-room will require significant down-sizing. Your parents may insist on keeping items that they don’t need. For example, although the retirement home may not have a kitchen, your parent may want to keep their pots and pans. It is important to remember that members who lose their home may also feel like their losing some independence and ability to make decisions for themselves. By being sympathetic and allowing them to make their own decisions, you are allowing them to maintain a sense of ownership and independence.

How to Talk to your Parent

Timing is key when approaching your elderly parent about moving into a nursing home. On certain days, they may feel like living in their home is a luxury, and on others the strain and difficulty will show. It’s best to talk to your parent about moving on a day when they express difficulty with the home. Is the gardener bill to high? Are they having difficulty with their health? By waiting to speak with your parent when they face a difficulty with the home, they will be more likely to see your point of view.

Finding a Home

Make preliminary visits and do some research on the best homes in the area before taking your parent on a search. Encourage your parent to make a list of questions and address their concerns. Never belittle or brush-off your parents’ concerns about where they live. Encourage them to take ownership of the process. Once you’ve settled on a home, be sure to visit at least one additional time with your parent before moving day. Find out if the home has moving and storage options to make the move easier.

Moving Process and Planning

The moving process and planning can be quite difficult for your parents. Realize from the beginning that they will not be able to take all of their belongings. Seek out moving and storage options, and perhaps a moving company that has experience moving the elderly to nursing homes. Invite friends and family on moving day for emotional support. Most importantly, give yourself extra time and keep the pace slow. Though the move may be possible in one day, consider giving it two. Rushing through what is a very emotional process for your parent will make the day even more difficult.

Finding Support

If necessary, be willing to take your parents to the moving and storage facility to gather additional items. Maintain a frequent visiting schedule, at least in the beginning, to help your parent feel at home. Encourage family and friends to visit often until parents feel comfortable in their new surroundings.

Though every move can be stressful, early planning and preparation will drastically reduce stress for all involved. Remember to be patient with yourself and your parents during the process. Taking care to purposefully plan every stage of the process from the talk to moving and storage will ensure a pleasant transition for your parents.

Paul Benjamin works for EZ Storage, a company specializing in secure and clean storage rental since 1971.

Image by Jeremy Bronson and licensed through Creative Commons.

Talking to Your Parents about Their Housing Needs

Last month, we shared some tips for talking to your parents when you can see they need help with their activities of daily living.

Although most seniors would ideally like to stay in their own home (sometimes referred to as “aging in place”), sometimes in-home care just isn’t enough.

Today, we hear first hand from someone who went through this with his own mother, in this video from the Family Caregivers’ Network in BC.

Does his situation sound similar to yours? Feel free to share your story in the Comments section below.

If you’d prefer to discuss it privately, we invite you and your parents to take our free questionnaire. We’ll help you evaluate your situation and prepare for the next phase in your lives.

How to Tell Your Parents They Need Senior Care

older mother and daughterAs years pass by, you will notice that the physical vigor of your parents starts to diminish. The used-to-be strong and healthy people would start to exhibit weaknesses and would experience different health related problems. It is very crucial for you to monitor the day to day activities of your parents. Signs of aging start to manifest in a myriad of ways. With ailing health along with physical incapacities, you will start to think of providing senior care for them. Sometimes, this appears unnoticeable where you might think everything is just normal.

But there are certain occurrences that will lead you to think that your parents need proper senior care. You need to monitor them regularly. If this is the case, you need to provide quality care for your parents. How would you tell them that they need senior care?

1. Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease

Once your parents are diagnosed with either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a condition where a patient slowly loses his or her memory, you can expect that this medical condition can lead to serious complications if not handled the right way. Apart from undergoing medications and other treatments, senior care is definitely important. People with this medical condition have a hard time remembering even the most important details in their lives. Some elders do not see the importance of having senior care because they think they are still healthy. But with the prescription and medical advice of a doctor, you can easily talk to them about the matter.

2. Difficulties in Doing the Usual Routines

Due to their old age, you can already start to notice that they are having a hard time walking or moving around the house. There are instances where they can no longer do their basic and usual routines. This is where the importance of senior care comes in. A professional senior care provider can definitely help your parents in their grooming and other hygiene routines. Some elders find it extremely difficult to mobilize and to even move. Most seniors would insist that they do their routines on their own. In this aspect, you need to be really patient and you can just provide the kind of assistance that they need without making them feel like they cannot do anything.

3. Drastic Weight Loss

Not all elders suffer from any illness. There are just some who need proper care and attention. This is actually normal for seniors. Without any assistance, there is a high tendency for most elders to have poor diet and end up experiencing drastic weight loss. Since you want to make sure that they are always healthy, you need to provide the right meals and other supplements. With proper senior care, every aspect of your parent’s daily life will be handled with utmost care. If your parents are hesitant, you can always encourage them to look better and to be more physically active.

4. Loss of Interest in Hobbies and Other Physical Activities

When you get old, the tendency is for you to lose enthusiasm to do the activities that you used to do. If your parents do not suffer from any medical condition, it helps to improve and invigorate their senses whenever they do their usual hobbies. If you notice your parents losing interest in physical activities, there might be something wrong and you might be lacking in physical care and attention for them.

This article was written by Artchee Mendoza exclusively for this site. Artchee also writes for www.signatureseniorcare.com, a Jacksonville Home Nursing Care.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net