It is always difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. Now I am not comparing your aging loved ones to teaching an old dog new tricks by any stretch of the imagination. When it comes to introducing something new to our parents it is sometimes difficult, especially when it comes to their care. Most seniors will resist getting help or admitting that they even need assistance. This can be so challenging for families that just want the best for their aging parents.
I don’t need any help!
Seniors have always made their own decisions and taken care of themselves as well as others, so giving up their independence will not come easy in most situations. They have always been the ones to make decisions and cared for others, so when it comes to needing assistance with daily chores, they are often are very resistant instead of realizing that it’s now their time to be cared for.
In many cases they feel that they are not surrendering their independence, it’s being taken from them. All of a sudden they’re thinking “I can’t drive, can’t cook, there is a stranger on my couch, someone else is bringing in my groceries.” I didn’t ask for this becomes their attitude, and rightly so. Even something as simple as taking their medicine can become an issue for them. They have always been in charge of their own medication and now it is handed to them by someone else, and they don’t even know which pill is which! From independence to being bossed around by their kid is often not a smooth transition. The aging senior doesn’t want to give up any of their independence and often feel they are becoming a burden on their families. This brings on more anxiety. When you are facing this challenge, there are a few things that you can do to help introduce some assistance to your parents in the right way. This will cut down on frustration on your part and hesitation on their part.
Think outside the box.
When it comes to caring for an aging parent we must remember that they are adults. How would you feel if some of your freedoms to make decisions were taken from you right now. When the time comes that this has to happen there are ways to adjust that benefits everyone.
- Start out slow, don’t make wholesale changes to your parent’s routine. Introduce changes in small segments.
- For a first step maybe use cameras in their home where you can see them know that they are OK.
- Video doorbells like Ring allow you to see who comes to their door.
- Medical alerts are a great tool for seniors, some even have fall alerts to notify family or emergency numbers.
- Starkey hearing aids have technology now that detects a fall and calls emergency numbers also.
- USPS has a service that sends you an email daily with pictures of your mail that day.
- Set up a device such as Alexa, Siri, or many others so if they need help they can just ask. This way they are still in charge, just with a little help.
When the time comes to have in-home care, introduce them to the caregiver as your friend. Hang out with them with your senior the first time. A few days later the caregiver can drop by to check on them. This way when the caregiver shows up it’s their friend, not a hired “sitter”. If a “sitter” shows up the senior feels like there’s a stranger in the house that they don’t know or trust. Slowly introducing the caregiver allows the seniors to know them before they’re there for the day so it feels like hanging out with a friend. That trust will make the process much easier.
Make it the senior’s idea to not drive, get care, use a walker, use a potty chair, etc.
When they need to use pull-up diapers refer to them as their day panties or night panties and underwear for the men.
What if your parents are with you and someone texting and driving comes close to the car you say something like, “That’s why I wish you wouldn’t drive, it’s just not as safe as it used to be”. Or instead of “you burn the pans and might set the house on fire” something like, “Charlotte’s a great cook and she’s gonna try some new recipes on you, I bet you’ll love them”. You could mention something like, “You’ve worked so hard all of your life now it’s time for you to be pampered a little, we’re gonna have your groceries delivered, that’s really popular now” to try and prevent grocery outings but still make it seem like something enjoyable. This way they are just getting in on what’s hip now for everyone.
Dignity and their ability to make decisions are key. If you do a little at a time it becomes their “new normal”. They don’t have a sitter, they have a friend. They don’t give up cooking, they’re trying new things. Instead of giving up shopping, they’re doing what everyone else does.
Having access to your parent’s passwords and usernames.
Unfortunately seniors are some of the highest at risk for online and over the phone scams. Helping a senior loved one keep track and protect their private online information can be a huge step in helping them stay safe. Programs like LastPass keep all of your passwords and generate a random one when used. If all of your parent’s usernames and passwords are on this all you need is a “master password”. You don’t have to ask them, you can just log on. This allows you to check on everything from their bank account to social media accounts. This will give you the assurance that they haven’t been scammed on their bank account or stalked or targeted by someone on social media.
Seniors deserve respect and to keep their dignity as they age. These simple steps are just a few suggestions that may help in the transition of providing different levels of care for your aging loved one.
Dwell at Home is here to help.
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Dwell at Home is not a licensed medical professional and all information provided is provided “as is” with no warranties. You should consult a licensed physician for any questions related to your health. Dwell at Home makes no guarantee about any application or third party web site mentioned in any article on this web site.