I am always interested in or trying to generate appropriate home care information for this new web site, all the gurus are constantly telling us that if we are going to post make sure it is relevant. However ,, what’s that all about?
In accordance with Merriam Webster relevant means: having substantial and demonstrable referring to the matter at hand. Which makes sense any time writing for your website but one of the synonyms for relevant is relative and that leads directly to the subject of this informative article.
The other day I was having coffee with another home care agency owner and he related a story to me which has disrupted me right away. He was going to a family for whom he provide a caregiver. It was a Sunday mid-day and the elderly parent was with him in the living room area as he sat and talked with the family. As they chatted with one another and discussed what they would do for dinner no conversation was directed at mom. She was not asked what she’d like to do for dinner, go out or maybe the son would barbecue. It was like she was undetectable.
Mom, who I will call Jane, has always been the respected matriarch in the family. She and her husband had six children and grown them on a ranch in Montana. Though the children always worked the ranch with their parents when dad was identified as having COPD along with cancer of the lung it was evident that the two sons and four daughters didn’t have desire for maintaining the family ranch. So through a series of family meetings, guided by Janice, it was decided to sell the homestead and head to the warmer climes of Arizona.
Dad died several years ago and now mom who is 86 lives with her youngest son, his wife and their last son to be in the house who is attending ASU. Her mind is sharp, her eyesight fair and hears OK with hearing aids. She does have balance issues and has fallen several times. That is why it was decided to have home care for her during the day when the son and his wife are working.
So how is it that this rancher’s wife who bore all six children at home in eastern Montana, who pulled calves along side her husband in winter storms, who managed the finances of the ranch and dealt with the bankers, who made the decision to sell the 8,000 deeded acres and move to the desert is now not even asked her opinion on dinner?
Now don’t get the impression that the family doesn’t love her, they adore her and would do anything for her. It is just that she has lost relevancy in their lives. It wasn’t a decision that was made it just crept in over time.
The son and his wife don’t get home till after 7 pm so the caregiver makes her supper before leaving and make sure that she is ready for bed. When they get home they spend some time with mom seeing how her day went but then they are off taking care their own life issues.
Since then, I have talked to other home care agency owners and it seems to be pretty much common place in today’s world. So how can we combat this decaying family relationship? Here are a few tips that you might think about.
Supper time is family time.
With today’s frantic pace it might not be possible to have a family meal on every night of the week but the weekends should be sacrosanct as family meal time. Whoever is cooking should tell the parent what is being prepared and then asked if that sounds good. Many aging parents are so used to having their meals in their room that the family doesn’t think to extend an invitation. Sometimes the aging parent doesn’t want to join the family due to feeling like they are intruding. This is a hard thing to work through but it can be done. Once the parent is joining you at the supper table make sure that they are wearing their hearing aids so they can hear what is being said and hopefully contribute to the conversation.
It is great to get out.
If your aging parent is mostly home bound and only gets out to go to the doctor then life really gets boring. Plan short outings and make a big deal out of it. Take a Saturday morning pick up a Starbucks caramel macchiato and a blueberry scone and head out to look at the fall colors. How about a evening drive around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights, hot chocolate goes good here. You get the idea.
It’s hobby time. As we have said many times in this forum learning something new keeps the gray matter young and the synapses popping. Checkers is easy but chess is more strategic and requires more planning and thinking.
Learning to play the piano doesn’t require a Spinet but can be accomplished with a laptop keyboard.
Why don’t you consider sketching or painting? When scouting for a hobby to suggest to your mother or father look at routines that will produce a product that can be given to you when you are getting home.I am certain that you can think of dozens other great ideas to reintegrate your parent into the family fabric just don’t get disappointed in case you are met with opposition from your parent to begin with, they could get real set in their ways. Keep after it and you may enjoy it…I assure it.