Facing the What If’s

I’ve learned that most people want to stay home and age in place. Back when we all lived like the Waltons it was easier than it is today; there was always someone in the home to take care of grandma and grandpa. Not so today. There are fewer multifamily homes and it’s harder to keep an eye on our loved ones. There is one common thread…most people do not plan for the day when Grandma and/or Grandpa‘s needs will increase. Without prior planning, people often find themselves in a panic, needing to make decisions quickly or unexpectedly, possibly under extreme stress. “What do we do?” is frequently the anguished question.

If caring for a parent or sibling may eventually fall to you, planning ahead can minimize the stress and allow for the best possible outcomes for your family member.

Under what conditions might someone suddenly need home care?

What if …

A partner dies?
Mom needs to have surgery for a hip fracture?
Dad has a heart attack or is diagnosed with diabetes?
Grandma is starting to show signs of Dementia?

As we age, our joints can become stiff and painful, making the things we used to do easily, nearly impossible. It’s harder to get up in the morning. Changing a bed becomes a monumental task – stripping sheets from the bed, transferring them from washer to dryer and putting them back on the bed – tasks that were once simple, have now become all but impossible.

You may notice your loved one starting to be forgetful. You begin to worry about whether they can continue to cook safely, without burning a pan or catching the house on fire. There are also problems no one wants to talk about, urinary or fecal incontinence, fear of taking a shower that may cause a fall. Your loved one may not want to participate in their usual social activities, fearful that they will forget how to play the card game they used to play with their friends, or even forget their friends’ names, or that they will have urinary incontinence in someone’s home.

Many changes can occur as the aging process advances, changes that are difficult for your loved one to accept and difficult for their family to cope with, such as the loss of a driver’s license, a change in eating habits, refusing to bathe, loss of interest in eating or preparing food, etc.

Your loved one may be reluctant to tell family members of their problems for fear they will worry. They often fear that if their family finds out they will try to ‘take over’. They may be fearful someone will try to put them in a “home”. Your loved one may be afraid to lose control of their day-to-day lives. They may be fearful of having a stranger in their home. Typical questions/concerns include, “what would I talk about with a stranger that comes into my home?” “What if they ‘rob me blind’?” “I’m not going to pay for someone to sit around and do nothing!” “I don’t want someone telling me what to do and how to do it!”

Change does not come easy to any of us. Admitting that we need help, and being willing to accept that help, can be very difficult. Some people view accepting help as the ‘beginning of the end’.

Professional and caring support can offer a ‘new beginning’. Most people don’t realize that a little help at the right time can allow a person to remain at home and in control of their lives. Many of the conditions mentioned above can be minimized by a good home care nurse and caregiver. People will sometimes tell a stranger much more than they would a family member.

We, at Home Health Care, Inc. will be glad to do a free home evaluation and consult with a loved one who may be hesitant about getting the little extra (or a lot extra) care that they need.

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