Raising the Bar for Elderly Care

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My husband’s grandmother “Jenny” is 94 and lives alone. Up until three years ago, her son was her main caregiver. When he passed away, her daughter offered to take her in, but she lives a few states away and Jenny wasn’t interested in moving. Her support system consists of a woman who comes once a month to clean, and weekly visits from either my mother-in-law or myself to drop off groceries and supplies.

She has friends from her church take her to doctor appointments. She doesn’t want family to go, probably because her front of being able to live alone would be blown. She uses a walker and cannot drive. Mentally, she is still fairly alert, but her living situation isn’t pleasant because of her limited mobility and incontinence issues.

Good caregivers have been arranged with her consent to help for a few hours a week, but she’ll cancel because she feels she cannot afford them, although she can. Her daughter calls weekly to check in, but she can’t do much beyond that, because Jenny won’t agree to have help. If someone wandered in off the street, they’d most likely be horrified by the smell of her house, the condition of her clothing and her general hygiene.

 From our point of view we have two choices: maintain the status quo with grocery deliveries and regular check-ins, or notify her doctors and perhaps social services, which would force her to accept additional help but would make us the bad guys and possibly alienate her.— Worried

 

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I am not entirely sure why I saved this  Dear Abby column perhaps I was thinking of this article (Who’s going to pay for eldercare?). Perhaps I found myself thinking of retirement, which is something we think about as young adults. What we don’t think about sometimes is the details. We’re too busy living in the moment and hoping what we invest in our 401K, IRA, Roth IRA will be enough . However, this is a real issue and these numbers are eye openers. I admit I don’t have any solid answers- I have more questions than answers. For example, how will you take care of the elderly individuals in your life?  (let this story Duty Towards Elders inspire us all).

I also agree with Abby “The daughter who calls her 94-year-old mother once a week(!) should visit in person. If she can’t afford the trip, family members should assist. During this visit, the family should gather as a group, along with a social worker, to discuss local programs and services available to her, such as Meals on Wheels” I also agree a”A family member should accompany her to doctor’s visits. If she doesn’t want you in the exam room, sit in the waiting room and ask to speak with the doctor. You simply have to be brave enough to have her be mad at you in order to assume some responsibility for her well-being.” How are you helping the elderly in your life?How are you preparing for retirement?

 

 

 

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12 Responses to Raising the Bar for Elderly Care

  1. reviewsbyjc says:

    I cared for my older sister until my mother needed daily care back and forth to the doctor everyday then my younger sister took over caring for our older sister. My mother then had to be hospitalized because of her failing heath so I stayed with her in the hospital until she passed. It was one of the hardest things I ever went through in my life but I am so very thankful I was able to be at both my fathers side and mothers side when they both passed which was eight years apart. I wasn’t able to be at my older sisters side when she passed because I was with my mother at the hospital. They died with in 29 days of each other. I was truly blessed to have been able to provide care and support for them when they were in need.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post. We learned from caring for our elderly parents that its our responsibility to be there for them as they were there for us. We don’t think this is new thinking but rather lived out by example by our ancestors. We think somewhere along the way this got lost and the expectation became that it was someone else’s responsibility.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I feel very strongly that our parent’s care, mental and physical is up to us regardless of what decision is made of them moving in, etc. but think daily contact is a minimum as falling can be all too common or some other situation and if they don’t respond, go see what’s up if they are living alone. If in a home- see them as often as humanly possible as you’d want to see loved ones too! If they live with you, ask family members to help give you a few hours of you time one in s while. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very burning issue and dear friend I am happy to reply you that I lost my parents when my paa was 69 and mom was 72 years .i have seen the issues discussed by you from close .for our parents we sisters worked in a planned way but when it came to my father n law I was highly disappointed that though I tried hard but still my sis n bro in laws never supported but they blamed me and my husband .this really shattered our feelings .so dear whatever may be the country or culture the problem of handling aged parents and sharing responsibility will remain the same.
    I am from India and many families face the issues here also.

    Liked by 1 person

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