If you care for an aging parent or loved one you need to be careful that you yourself don’t fall into denial. Denial is actually a strong defense mechanism that you may be using unconsciously to help deal with what you know is coming down the road. Perhaps you come to your loved one’s home daily just to make sure everything is okay. Maybe Mom doesn’t like driving so you take her on all her errands. You’re sure to be there the night before the garbage has to be set out so Dad doesn’t have to do it. And you go back the next day to take the cans in. It snowed last night so you get there in the morning so the snow gets shoveled and Dad doesn’t have to risk falling when he goes out to get the paper. Your loved one has a doctor appointment so you go along as a second set of ears and to pick up the prescription. It’s a lot of extra work in your life and takes up much of your time but so far you’re holding up okay. Does any of this sound familiar? Because you are with your loved one so often, you’ve surely seen changes in how your senior moves, how they function, and what their limitations are as they age. If you are taking on more and more of their activities of daily life, you’re probably in denial that they need help. You may not want to believe that and may dread having a conversation about it with them. If you hold off for a bit longer, perhaps they themselves will realize its time to get help. It can be a difficult and uncomfortable topic so you keep waiting. It’s perfectly normal to deny something unpleasant or frightening but it can prevent us from facing the facts and can in reality be dangerous for our loved ones because denial will keep us from preparing for what’s ahead whether its an accident or the worsening of some chronic condition. Not addressing the issue won’t keep it from happening. Take a realistic look at your loved one’s situation and be careful not to fool yourself into complacency. Making plans and decisions about the future care of your loved one is much easier to do when you’re not in the midst of some medical crisis. How did you come to the realization that your loved one needs some extra care? Share below and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com
Category Archives: Farmington Hills
I was at the florist last weekend to order flowers for a special occasion. While there I noticed an elderly lady looking over the pots of daffodils and tulips. We struck up a conversation and she confided in me that she needed some flowers to boost her spirits. It has been such a long and cold winter that she just needed a reminder that spring really is coming. As we talked, she told me she could count on one hand how many endless winters like this one she had seen in her ninety two years. After she made her purchase, she asked if I would help her to her car. She had one of those four-pronged canes in one hand and a pot of daffodils in the other. I took the flowers from her and offered her my arm for support as we walked through the door, chatting the whole time and marveling at the warmth of the sunshine. She pointed out her vehicle, a massive old model Grand Marquis. As we approached the car she suddenly exclaimed “Oh no honey, I drove!” I had automatically escorted her to the passenger side, assuming someone had driven her to the florist and was waiting for her in the car. After making our way to the driver’s side she fumbled in her purse for her keys and I helped her get in, loading her daffodils and the cane on the passenger seat. We said our good-byes and I stood in dumbstruck silence noticing a variety of scratches and dents as she drove away. I kept thinking “there’s an accident, just waiting to happen”.
Hopefully, that lovely lady made it home in one piece and without incident. It seems to me that somewhere along the line a family member or friend should talk with her about assessing her driving. As you reach your senior years, at some point you may need to limit your driving or stop altogether. There are so many issues that can limit the ability to drive. Reaction time slows with age and mobility problems can make it difficult to look over your shoulder to change lanes or move your leg back and forth from the gas pedal to the brake. In addition, vision declines leaving many seniors to deal with glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. Hearing problems would make it harder to hear the warning sounds of honking horns or ambulance sirens. Combinations of medications can affect the senses and reflexes. Everyone ages differently and some can drive later in life than others but if you have a senior in your life, it may be time to assess their driving. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to start that conversation before they got to the flower shop! Visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com"
Last evening, on the way home from work, I narrowly escaped a fender bender—not once, but twice. I had come to a stop at a red light while in the inside lane of a four lane road. A moment later, I noticed a bright red sedan with it’s left turn signal on pull past me into the intersection in the lane to my right. My first thought was that the driver had simply forgotten to turn off their turn signal. Fortunately, I hesitated when the light turned green, and then the red sedan cut right across the front of my car and made a left turn in front of me. That momentary hesitation kept my car intact. As she sped off, I noticed the driver of the other car was a very elderly lady whose head was barely visible above her steering wheel. I then cautiously made my turn only to find myself once again traveling next to the same lady. A mile down the road she suddenly sped up and pulled right in front of me and then came to a complete stop with her left turn signal on, once again. She apparently thought she was in the left turn lane which was actually further to the left. I braced myself, expecting to be rear-ended by whoever was behind me. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I took off, very relieved she had made her turn.
My first instinct was to find a place to turn around and follow her into the parking lot and give her a piece of my mind. That would have served no purpose –I’m sure this isn’t the first time she had pulled a move like that and I’m pretty sure she’s been yelled at before. And then I thought about Mom. She’s in her late 80’s, has had her right hip replaced, walks with a cane, and drives herself pretty much to most places. She only goes to her local grocery store or the mall. Occasionally, she has a doctor appointment or goes to the dentist. And on Sunday she drives to church just a couple blocks away. Once a month there’s a Red Hats Club meeting that she car pools to with a few friends. Since her cataract surgery, she doesn’t drive at night. There a numerous scrapes on her car’s bumpers — it’s amazing how careless other people can be in a parking lot.
Last evening, on the way home from work, I learned a lesson. It’s time to have a meeting with my siblings and find a way to talk to Mom about her driving. Maybe we can convince her to use the local Senior Citizens community bus. If we take turns, we can drive her to appointments without burdening any one family member. Maybe she’d agree to hire someone to take her to appointments. If we present a united front and give her some workable options, maybe she’ll agree to stop driving. Last evening, on the way home from work, I opted to see for the first time, what was right in front of me all along. If you believe someone you love or care for may have issues that affect their ability to safely drive, contact your local Secretary of State to request a driver assessment reevaluation. Have you had to deal with a loved one’s driving issue? Share below and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com
Once you’ve made the decision your senior or loved one needs some help to keep them safely in their own home, you need to decide if you should make some private arrangements to directly hire a caregiver or if you should go through a home care agency. Your first instinct may be to directly hire a caregiver, thinking this is the less expensive option. In effect this would make you both a case manager and an employer. You would have to do all the things a home care agency will do but without the experience or the time to do it. There are definite advantages to using a home care agency.
*Are you prepared to search for a caregiver? Where should you look? How do you know if the candidate is both qualified and experienced? A home care agency already has a staff of qualified, trained caregivers who also receive ongoing additional training.
*A home care agency will have run an in-depth background check of the caregivers they place in your home. The caregivers have also passed extensive drug tests and are bonded and insured. This is not typically done for direct hire caregivers.
*If you hire someone privately, you will be responsible for collecting and remitting Federal and State taxes to the government. You will have to deal with unemployment, workers’ compensation and the employment eligibility paperwork.
*A home care agency takes care of all the staffing issues. If the caregiver becomes ill or is on vacation there are back-up caregivers on staff so that services won’t be interrupted.
*Through an agency, caregivers are supervised and they are matched to be a good fit with your loved one. This is especially important since you probably won’t be there while the caregiver is with your loved one. Keep in mind that if things don’t work out with the caregiver you’ve hired directly, you’ll have to start the search and hiring process all over.
*You can be more flexible with services through an agency. A direct hire caregiver may not be available if you want to change prescheduled times or days or if you need the type of service changed. With an agency, adjustments can be made when your needs change.
The ultimate goal of using a home care agency is to keep your loved ones in their own home for as long as possible. If you’ve gotten to the point where you can no longer do all the caregiving on your own then it just makes sense to have an experienced agency take some of the burden off your shoulders. For more information, visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com
As our parents age, we gradually take on the responsibility of caring for them and helping them with their activities of daily life. It starts out slowly. Perhaps we make extra portions of dinner and bring it to them so they have a nice hot meal. Maybe we pick mom up and take her grocery shopping so she doesn’t have to drive. When we stop by we put the garbage out or do a couple loads of laundry. After all, our goal is to keep them safe and comfortable in their own home surrounded by their own familiar things. As our parents age, the number and frequency of these thoughtful actions slowly increase. Then one morning we wake up to find we are now the parents, making daily decisions for them and helping them with everything. It’s time for home care. Just the thought of getting professional home care for our loved one can stir up deep feelings of guilt. It’s important to remember that we owe our loved ones the honest, warm relationship that exists between loving parents and children. We need to keep that role as a loving child alive and not trade it in for a role as a caregiver. This is often compounded by the issue of juggling the demands of work and our own children.. The signals that our parents need help are often subtle and we may not come to this realization until we’ve become overwhelmed by caregiving. Remember, you can’t be much help to them if you are burned out yourself. Look for these clues that it may be time to get some help.
*Is their personal hygiene good? Do they bathe regularly? Are teeth being brushed and hair combed?
*Are there any physical changes in your loved ones? Do they look thinner? Do they seem weak or do they fall frequently?
*Are meals being prepared? Is there any stale or expired food in the refrigerator or cupboards?
*Is the house being cleaned and maintained? Is there a lot of clutter or trash around?
*Does the car have any unexplained dents or scratches? Has your loved one gotten lost driving somewhere familiar?
*Are there any safety issues like coffee pots left on or doors left unlocked at night?
*Have you noticed any memory problems? Have appointments been missed or medications not taken?
*Are your loved ones isolating themselves and avoiding social functions or family gatherings?
*Have you noticed any mental changes? Are they often moody or seem distant and vague?
If you see some of these changes in your loved ones, it may be time to talk to the family about getting some help for them. As parents age, its often easier to accustom them to having someone come in to the home for shorter periods of time. As their needs change, the type and amount of help can be adjusted. The goal is to help your seniors stay in their own home for as long as possible. This is where they are the most comfortable. Have you noticed other signals that your parents need help? Share below. Don’t forget to visit us at www.trilliumhomecare.com