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Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Making Home Safe for Mom and Dad

In caregiving on September 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm

There is so much to consider with aging parents. While it is a proven fact that people do so much better at home (happier, usually healthier, in most cases more cost-effective, etc) keeping them safe in their own home is one thing among many that needs to be considered. If they get up during the night to use the restroom can they safely navigate without suffering a fall? Once in the bathroom are the facilities user-friendly to them? If they need to clean themselves and bathe can they get in and out of the bath or shower without falling and/or injuring themselves?

We provide in-home safety evaluations to help keep your loved one safe from injuries. This is a free service with every new client we take. A written assessment is made and a report is provided to you with recommendations in areas that should be improved to ensure maximum safety at home. We can suggest certified and responsible contractors to do home safety alterations. A home safety evaluation is imperative no matter who you choose to do it, just make sure the evaluator is educated in elder safety.

While the goal should always be to keep your loved one at home if possible another consideration is the amount of supervision and assistance is required to allow them normal activities of daily living. Can they dress themselves independently? Can they prepare meals for themselves and clean up afterwards? Can they shop for themselves or get to their doctors appointments? What happens if they become ill or injured? Do they have someone who regularly looks in on them or makes daily contact? Do they wear a device that allows them to call for help if they are immobile and cannot get to a phone?

Thought also needs to be paid to the issue of socialization. Our loved ones need companionship. There are many options and the decision should always be made involving the loved one who is affected by this. These complex issues should involve the assistance of the individual’s physician if possible and there is much community support as well. Talk to professionals and weight all of your options before making any decision.

For more information on this topic please contact us at youre_first@yahoo.com or visit our website http://www.yourefirst.net for written material under the “brochure library” tab.

So What?

In caregiving on September 11, 2011 at 1:36 am

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia…but to those of us dealing with a loved one who is, for lack of a better term trapped in their own world, dealing with any type of memory loss can be extremely stressful to say the least. We have a client who every time she comes out of the bathroom she asks “did they call my numbers yet?” She constantly thinks she is at Bingo, something she always loved to play. Her daughter and I had a conversation about this. The daughter has consistently tried to explain to her mother that she was not at Bingo, that she was at home, etc. She told me it was so stressful and heartbreaking to go through this same conversation several times a day and she never got through to her. During this conversation with the daughter I told her that whenever her mother said this during our care visits I would sometimes tell her “Yes” and give her a small prize, other times I would tell her “I am sorry but they have not called your numbers yet”. I saw no point in trying to explain to her that she was not at Bingo.

We developed a routine during lunch where we started to play Bingo together and she loved it. I explained to the daughter that as long as the situation was not harmful (touching a hot stove, wandering out into the street, etc.) it did not matter if she tried to correct her mother or set her straight. So what? What does it matter? The daughter now goes along with her mother whenever she asks if they called her numbers yet and everyone is happier and there is less stress.

There is benefit to keeping loved ones in touch with reality but when this is no longer realistic, sometimes it is less stressful for everyone to just go with the flow.

I realized this a few years ago when I accompanied a 92 yr. old client to a family wedding. At the beginning of the ceremony she kept telling me “it’s so nice that Samuel is finally getting married”, when we were at her great-nephew Michael’s wedding. (I do not know who Samuel was?) At first I kept trying to correct her and explaining who’s wedding we were at but after the third time in 15 minutes, I just went along with her. We both enjoyed the wedding very much and she was not upset or stressed that I was correcting her. I was not stressed because I could not get through to her.

So what if someone doesn’t know whose house they are at. So what if someone doesn’t recognize a loved one anymore. The fact that you can still love them and enjoy them is huge and to do so with less stress is the icing on the cake. Please realize I do not diminish the fact that it hurts to know that a loved one may not know who you are at times but relish in the fact that you can still love them, touch them, be with them and have so much fun with them. That should count for something!