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Caring for an elderly parent

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goodnatured



Joined: 03 Nov 2007
goodnatured's page
Posts: 3931



490 Magic Points

Subject: Caring for an elderly parent
 
Posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:18 am  

Caring for elderly parents can be a pain staking event. The decision to take on the responsibility is one that should not be taken lightly and should be carefully thought out. We all want the want the best for our loved ones but how do know if the job is just too much for us and how do we know when to accept or ask for outside help and even more heartbreaking, would our loved one be better served in a personal care home.

We see ourselves in our parents, we have depended on them for years to guide us in the right direction and give us the support and care that we need to make it through the tough times in life. From our birth, to first day of school, to our first prom, to our marriages and the birth of our children, no matter the joys or despairs our parents have been there for us. Now it is time for us to become the caretaker and make the right decisions that will most benefit our loved ones.

Ideally, keeping an elderly parent in their own home is the most beneficial for the mental health. They are familiar with their surroundings and they experience the most important thing to them, their independence. Once an elderly parent feels their independence is being threatened you may experience more resistance to changes that need to be done in order to provide the care needed. Some things that you may want to do to evaluate exactly where your elderly parent stands is to visit the parents family physician with them. Do this over a period of time and stay involved with their care. You can then get a good idea where your parent's frame of mind is or their physical ability is going. Ask the doctor about your concerns in front of your parent, make them an active part of the conversations and the decisions to be made, it is their life you are talking about. Going behind their back will only cause you problems in the long run. Expect some resistance, how would you like someone taking over your life.
Once you figure out where they are, you can make better decisions. Keeping your parent involved, get advice from their family doctor, speak to local providers to see what is available in your community for seniors. Keeping a parent in their home environment is a very realistic scenario with all the in home support available these days. Many organizations offer housekeeping, shopping and companionship services to seniors in their homes. You can find more information on this through the many links available through the administration on aging webpage. These pages start at the federal level and work their way down to the local levels of support.

Another option that is available to you is adult day care. This has been around for quite some time now. It is just what it sounds like, a day care center for your elderly parent. A lot of these centers are set up with socialization and daily living activities that will keep your parent involved both mentally and physically. This option allows your elderly parent to be involved with others their same age, experiencing a lot of the same issues that they are. You may find that you meet others there who are in your same situation, it is a great place to network and find some good resources for other issues you may be dealing with.

If you have exhausted all options and you feel your parent would be better taken care of in a personal care type setting, you should do your investigation prior to taken this step. You can ask around the community to see what is available, nothing worse than finding out that you have put your parent in a place that has no social interaction and personal care and attention they need. This is especially true if your parent is non verbal and can not tell you what is actually going on. You should develop a checklist of what your expectations are. Go visit and see how the residents there are treated, see how the residents react to staff and check with your local aging services to see what they recommend, they will usually know the reputation of the local personal care homes in their area. Below is a list of questions that you may want to ask, this is just a start, you can never ask enough questions. Nursing home checklists are available online that covers just about every concern you may have.
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Laura

Laura

Joined: 21 Jun 2007
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Posts: 1327



36215 Magic Points

 
Posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:10 am  

Day Care Center? Is that a joke? I expect myself to take care of my parents the way they did to me. If it is at my cost, i will go ahead and do that. For me they are not just elderly people or senior citizens. They mean the world to me. As far as engagement is concerned..if they are staying at home they are free to do anything they want and live an independent life.

I do not regret my decision to be with them because for me that is how it should be. However the information that you have provided Good is really great. These places are for people who do not have anybody to take care of them. If I die an accidental death I would always want my sibling to take care and only if no one is around my parents can visit the day care center if they want to. It is their discretion and completely their call.

Well I agree with you that disabled old age can be spent at the care centers. It becomes very difficult if they have to be taken care of for 24hrs and 7 days a week. With my job I would be unable to take care in that case.
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Lunchtime



Joined: 29 Dec 2007
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Posts: 108



-20 Magic Points

 
Posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:30 pm  

Quote:
Another option that is available to you is adult day care. This has been around for quite some time now. It is just what it sounds like, a day care center for your elderly parent. A lot of these centers are set up with socialization and daily living activities that will keep your parent involved both mentally and physically.


I thought about the same way when I first heard of adult day care, but it is out there and people use it. As good mentioned they are more involved with others their age and it provides some really good socialization that they may not otherwise get.

I am with you Laura, I would keep my parents home as long as possible, I just lost a parent and he was at home until he passed, I was so sad and still am, I really wish he would have been able to get out more and do some more while I worked through the days, seems if he was at home alone he did alot of sleeping and I think this may have contributed along with other health issues to his death. I guess if you found one that was very interactive and did things with your parents it would be a great benefit to them, they need to get out and live too. I think it is a good idea if you can afford it and you do a proper inspection and make sure that it is a good adult day care center.
erb1953



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
erb1953's page
Posts: 547



-100 Magic Points

 
Posted on Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:08 am  

My mother was hard headed and stubborn, she ended up dying in the hospital but would have lived way past 60 had she seen a doctor. She was so set in her ways, I remember coming home and she would have my underwear on her head and two puffs of her hair sticking up through where my legs were supposed to be. She would be baking her bread, my undies as a child doubled as her hair net, she did not see anything wrong with it at all.

My mother did not have many friends, she was a private lady who stayed at home and took care of her kids and grandkids, she was not a social person at all. She worked hard at home and stayed there as much as possible. I don't think she would have taken to well to the world today. She lived in a much simpler time. Very simple. No extravagance at all.
carol

carol

Joined: 27 Jun 2006
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Posts: 1299
Location: Los Angeles, California


30060 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:33 am  

I completely agree with you guys. If our parents are responsible enough they understand the right and wrong for themselves. Of course I am there to counsel as well. We always give them choices to hang out. Take our pet for a walk. They get a walk as well and meet people. As simple as that. I think there is no other way to develop someones health than to interact with human beings and taking care of one self.

The easiest part with me is that my parents cooperate a lot. They understand that if I am asking them to do something it is only for their benefit. They do not counter my decisions that I take on behalf of them. For an example...last week dad complained of feeling very drowsy and slept throughout the day. Now this did not seem okay to me. Next day i made sure that he moved out and went to the store.My intention was not to make him work but to get him rid of the drowsiness which might have been due to the cold weather outside and a warm inside of our house. I really liked it when he said yes I need to take a stroll otherwise I would keep sleeping and wake up after 20 years LOL.
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erb1953



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
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Posts: 547



-100 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:13 pm  

great response carol, you sound like a good daughter, it is good to motivate them.

I work in a personal care home and if we would let them sit they would sit there all day long and watch television. We try to get them to do activities, some get very mean or don't interact well in a group of people and we try to understand, you do have different personalities, maybe this person was a loner there whole life or maybe it is resentment of their freedom being taken away, either way, it shows up in their everyday behavior. I think it is sad when the only thing that have to look forward to is the meals, we try to get them to stay as active as possible, it is really hard in the winter time, they fear falling and breaking the hip which can be devastating to someone their age.

I love my job and I get pretty close to some of the people that are their, my toughest ones are the two that we have in the first stages of alzhiemer's, the lady has a nursery set up for her baby dolls and dare we make noise when those children are sleeping, she can get a little testy then, but we have to just try and keep everything at an a low roar until she says they are awake. We had to move her room, the television in the living room was keeping here babies awake, I think the noise just irritates her. We do what we can to keep the peace.

The man we have is a different story all together, he likes to wonder, we have to keep a close eye on him. We have 19 residents all together, it can get tough at times, but we try. I have one lady who will sit at the kitchen table and carrying on conversation with me while I cook, she is so sweet and seems very capable, I don't think she would be there if she was my mother, but the family does not want bothered. My 5 year old grand daughter will come sometimes and talk to her too, those two just carrying one heck of a conversation about everything. This lady has all her beans and is just one of those cases that I think should have been handled differently. I always enjoy her sitting in the kitchen area and talking to me.

I started working this job about 5 years ago, I don't have a high school diploma, I don't have a whole lot of job choices, I really like this job and plan to stay as long as they will have me.
debtstinker



Joined: 03 Nov 2007
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Posts: 272



-4 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:15 pm  

Happy Saturday everyone! first of all, erb you are such a strong, sensitive, and compassionate person for working in the field you are and carol it's wonderful to hear that you have the perspective you do! good, great topic. I now supervise people who go into our elderly's homes and clean, shop, do small errands. I admire them so very much because they are allowing literally hundreds of elderly people STAY in their own homes. our employees are developing relationships with thier clients and provide the companionship that so many of them need.
Our clients love the flexibility of not having to be put in a nursing home or an adult daycare. it's so hard for many in our society to have the mindset carol does, our parents took care of us, i think we have an obligation to take care of them if at all possible. there are times when we need help. for all of you who work in this field, you are to be commended! it takes a special special person with a strong constitution to help those who are vulnerable. see all of you later!
goodnatured



Joined: 03 Nov 2007
goodnatured's page
Posts: 3931



490 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:12 pm  

I just think it is great to have options, we should not be looking at our elderly parents as burdens and they do not want to feel that way, many parents will tell their children that they do not want to be a burden to anyone. This is sad that they feel this way, were we as kids burdens to them, probably.

It is also very important to know when you can't handle it yourself, in many cases with alzhiemers and some other elderly ailments that affect people mentally you sometimes have to make the decisions to get the outside help or place your parent in a facility so that they get the care they require. I know it is hard to do, but it may be what is best for them and you. Your parents doctor can help you understand when the time is to make this decision if this is your case.
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erb1953



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
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Posts: 547



-100 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:20 am  

Thank you debtstinker for the compliment, it is truly me that is lucky here, I get to learn everyday from these elderly people, they have so much to offer, someday I will be in there shoes and I hope someone takes care of me the way I take care of them.

We had a guy that was pretty violent, he was pushed from personal care home to personal care home. He was getting pretty mean there, I had to go on transports with him to the doctor and to counselling, he belted me a few times, eventually after about a year he finally started trusting me and we developed a pretty descent understanding of each other. He recently had a stroke and was moved and we can't take him back because of his condition. I feel so bad, he probably feels so alone again, our home is not set up for the skilled care that he needs, I hope that this does not make him regress mentally and start being mean again, this behavior will make the staff take care of him differently, he is a tough nut to break. I hope he is doing well, he is so far away that we don't hear how he is.

I think that if you work in the personal care homes you have to get personal with these people and make it as much as home as you can. They are living there 24/7, we go home after 8 hours, they stay. We are visitors in there homes, we should respect their privacy but know that we must take care of their needs too. I get along with all 19 residents that we have in our home, they are all different, they are all special in their own way, good or bad, it is their home.
Dadummy



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
Dadummy's page
Posts: 547



174 Magic Points

Subject: parent care
 
Posted on Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:32 am  

i think most parents would tell thier children what they want before anything happens but for unseen situations i think we all have to do the best we can everyones situation is differant. some times its impossible to keep them with you like for some the cost would make you lose your home or they had alsheimers and were getting hurt youd want them to be safe. its all up to the family members, but id keep my parents or inlaws or even friends , its just who i am.
erb1953



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
erb1953's page
Posts: 547



-100 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:39 am  

Where I work, I see why the families have put some of them there, but there are others there that if they were my parent they would still be at home. I try to keep them as active as possible and socialize with them as much as possible and still get my work done.

dadummy, I know what you mean, in the old days, you kept them at home no matter what their condition, you just did not hear of putting them in a home or sending them off to a daycare. I think it is good to have these options available though, you may be stronger than other people. I would rather see them end up somewhere that they would be taken care of instead of in a family home where they are not really wanted and may suffer abuse or neglect. You sound like a good lady who wants to do what is right. that is good and the people that you cared for were fortunate to have you.

some people are not equipped with the patience and frame of mind to take care of a parent who is suffering from mental issues like alzhiemers or other mental problems that progress with age. People forget to take their medications, forget to eat, forget to get out of bed in the mornings. these ones I think it is a full time job and if the family is holding down jobs and raising a family, sometimes the personal care homes are a better choice so that the elderly person gets the care they need.
Lunchtime



Joined: 29 Dec 2007
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Posts: 108



-20 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:15 am  

Quote:
Where I work, I see why the families have put some of them there, but there are others there that if they were my parent they would still be at home. I try to keep them as active as possible and socialize with them as much as possible and still get my work done.


You sound like you do a great job with these people, I think that is great, this is not an easy field to be in, you have to deal with so much, their illness and their death and you get closer to many more people than the average person would and you are exposed to much more death than the average person and I am sure that your heart aches every single time. You should always have comfort in the fact that you have made a personal effort to make the last few years of their life the best that you could, you sound like a dedicated, loving person, I applaud you and wish there were more out there like you.

So many times it is like people are warehoused in the personal care homes and they are only there so some administrator or owner has one more check from the state. This home that you work in sounds like it is more like a home environment, where the people have a sense of belonging and care, this is so important to those people who are up there in age, especially if they have family that don't come and see them. God bless you and the rest of the staff there.

Quote:
I hope he is doing well, he is so far away that we don't hear how he is.


Can you have your administrator call and see how he is doing? they may tell this person, maybe you can get the address and send him a card from your staff, with a picture of all of you. I am sure he would enjoy that.
goodnatured



Joined: 03 Nov 2007
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Posts: 3931



490 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:12 am  

That is good advice lunchtime, the administrator probably could find out that information for you. Sending a picture would probably ease his mind if he knows that you guys have not forgotten him.

erb, you sound like you really enjoy your work, that is awesome.
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erb1953



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
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Posts: 547



-100 Magic Points

 
Posted on Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:46 pm  

Why did we not think of that, that is a great idea. This individual does not have any family members that came to see him when he was with us for the last 4-5 years, so I doubt that anyone is going to see him now. It is a sad case, I think he has had mental issues for many years and suffered alot of lonliness because he would get mean. I know one time we were in the van on our way to a doctor appointment and he swung around and hit me pretty hard, I was so mad at him, it really hurt. I have sat in many waiting room situations with him, this has taken such a long time to build his trust, just in time for his health to take a turn for the worse and him to be moved, I feel bad, there is nothing I can do about it, we just don't have the skilled staff here to care for him, we have a doctor that visits once every two weeks, but his condition requires nurses be there everyday to monitor him. I don't know if he will pull through this. I would not be surprised to hear that this got the best of him. I have some pretty good and bad memories, more recent the good. Hope he does well where he is. I will ask the administrator to find out where they are keeping him and to get the address for us.
Guest







 
Posted on Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:20 am  

Growing up I ran into a position where I was offered to take care of an elderly woman who had alzheimers and emphysema. I took the position at the young age of 15 having no experience at all. It was in her home which I would clean, I cooked her meals, distributed her medication, and even bathed her and changed her diapers. It didn't seem to bother me doing those type of responsibilities but I am not sure if its because I formed a bond with her after caring for her for 2+ years or if I am one of a hand full of people who grasp the fact that one day I will be in that position and need cared for just like she did. In any instance, a person dong this type of work must have certain qualities in order to do the job successfully. If you do not have patience along with many other qualities chances are the person you are caring for will not get the ultimate care and treatment they should be getting.
I think when your in a situation like this that involves your parents and loved ones that most folks would know whether their parents would want personal caretakers or nursing home caretakers. Dealing with a family member will obviously involve more feelings and the family would be more sensative to the decisions they will have to make. If anyone needs redirected to articles dealing with this topic I would recommend an assessment handbook called Where to start and what to ask by S Lukas. It discusses The stages of the family life cycle such as:
1. Leaving the home and becomming a single young adult
2. Joining families through marriage
3. Families accepting new offspring
4. Relationships between parents and adolescents
5. Launching Children to move out and move on
6. Later life accepting shifts in generational roles and dealing with losses of loved ones

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