Hey Duuuuude Chill!

When my tranquility abruptly ends I am usually dealing with an under-appreciated (because Mum thinks I should appreciate and snap to) disturbance in the form of a personage which stands about five feet three inches tall and who will soon turn eighty-eight years of age, this is if my daughter and I let her make it to her birthday.  Last week my daughter had a dream in which she shoved a peach into her grandmothers face …. because (1) the dream upset my daughter so much and (2) because she felt the need to share her dream with me, I felt obligated to reminded her that a dream is only DE-fraging ones mind and that shoving a peach into her grandmother’s face is nothing she would actually do. But, now each time mother gets ‘testy’ which she does quite often these days my daughter and I let the dream serves another purpose, which is comic relief in the form of verbally speaking out of one word — PEACHES — and then we simply go about our business as if nothing was spoken, but with a smile on our face and sometimes the tiniest of a chuckle. Mother is none-the-wiser.

My mother is elderly and in poor health but improving in gait and stamina (even attitude) each day, now that we insist she be challenged physically by doing for herself. The more she does for herself — the more she improves — the more she improves — the better quality of life she has and the better her attitude. WE are so very aware the end of her days is coming sooner than later but our wish is for her to have enjoyment, comfort, independence and as much well-being as humanly possible from now until then. Given her congestive heart failure (CHF)diagnosis I know it is a challenge for her to make her bed, dust her dresser, pour her own cup of coffee and sometimes I do these (and other) things for her. I do a lot, actually as does my daughters and my sons, as well as the older great-grandchildren, but what we do not do is to enable her to be sedentary and wallow/willow away. We love her to much to allow that; so, . . . when Ms. Ugly rears up and goes into disturbance mode I just take a chill pill in the form of one word: PEACHES!

Are you dealing with the care of an elderly parent? Like my family have you opted to keep your elder at home during their final days? A lot of families make the decision to move an elderly parent in with them, providing comfort, instead if placing a parent into a nursing home when it is apparent that the parent can no longer live independently in the parents own home.  Perhaps, you have noticed during your visits to your parent’s home that your parent is beginning to need help with normal daily activities, (i.e. bathing/dressing/cooking/cleaning) and perhaps you have issues of concern for your parent’s safety (i.e. forgetting to turn off the stove burners or oven).  Some of you may find it difficult to approach the subject with your elderly parent especially if you have ever had to relieve your parent of their car keys, as I had to do with my Dad. I was not excited to have the next conversation with my Dad about the stove needing to be off limits to him (Microwave–yes; stove/oven–NO!) but it was a conversation that had to happen for his own safety and that of his lovely home us kids wished to remain standing.

If you are dealing with this issue: you are in my prayers (prayer is the most powerful thing I have) and feel free to borrow PEACHES, if you are so inclined.

Here are a few organizations which provide some beneficial information for all of us.

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Training for Family Caregivers

Community-based resources may offer training and classes for family caregivers. Such resources may include: your local hospital; home care agencies; Area Agency on Aging, voluntary health agencies, and county and state departments of health.

American Red Cross has developed training programs for family caregivers. You will need to check with your local chapter to find out if there are classes in your area.

NFCA has developed an educational workshop to teach family caregivers to communicate more effectively with healthcare professionals. Check out the NFCA Website to find out if there are workshops scheduled in your community.

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Caring for Elders

Vital information and possible support services for the elderly can be obtained by contacting your local county office of senior services or elder affairs as well as your local social service department. Area adult daycare centers may also provide information on resources for the elderly in your area. These numbers can be located in the governmental pages of the phone book or through a web query.

AARP supplies information about caregiving, long-term care and aging, including publications and audio-visual aids for caregivers.

What does a grown daughter say to her dad when he’s hit a light pole with the car? How does an adult son ask his mom if she’s taking her medications like she should? And how do siblings approach their parents about needing more help at home? These issues can challenge even the family where communication is free and open. Talking sooner is better than waiting until a crisis has occurred. That’s what the “40-70 Rule” is all about. This advice is designed to help adult children and their aging parents deal with those sensitive topics that often make conversations difficult. The idea is that if you’re 40, or your parents are 70, it’s time to start talking about the issues of aging.

Geriatric care managers (GCMs) are health care professionals, most often social workers, who help families in dealing with the problems and challenges associated with caring for the elderly. This national organization will refer family caregivers to their state chapters, which in turn can provide the names of GCMs in your area. This information is also available online.

The Administration on Aging is the official federal agency dedicated to the delivery of supportive home and community-based services to older individuals and their caregivers. The AoA Website has a special section on family caregiving.

For more specific/topic information and web sites feel free to check out:

https://www.thefamilycaregiver.org/caregiving_resources/agencies_and_organizations.cfm

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