As we get older, it seems, at least for many of us, that our trips to the doctor become more and more frequent. To make things worse, our trips are no longer one-stop shops. There’s a different doctor to see for every medical ailment affecting our bodies. This means, of course, that we go to the cardiologist on one day, the neur
As adult children taking care of elderly parents, we often consume most of our caregiving time addressing the medical problems and physical limitations of our elderly parents who need help with bathing, medication management, housekeeping, or errand-running. Stopping in after work or going over on the weekend to help out is about all the time we can muster, and by the time those tasks are addressed, we are too pooped out to sit and visit, have a leisurely meal together, or play cards with them. Besides, our kids needs us to chauffeur them to their soccer/basketball/hockey/dance events, and we need to run! We try to be everything to everyone, but instead, we end up feeling exhausted and sometimes even resentful.
A client’s daughter recently asked, “You mean I can pay someone to play cards with my dad?”
I responded, “Absolutely!”
“But I feel guilty about that,” she said. She was already doing so much for her father and realistically could not find any more time to be with him than she was already spending. Fortunately, there is help for senior caregivers.
There are two solutions to her problem. The first is to hire a senior companion care company to provide a caregiver to help with the household chores so that the daughter, when she does have time to spend with her dad, can spend it visiting with him or playing games instead of being the housekeeper. Most of our parents would give the world if their busy children could just sit with them awhile without jumping up to do this task or that!
The other solution is to continue doing what needs to be done around the home, if she’d rather, and then hire a caregiver to spend quality time with her dad doing the things that he enjoys doing, whether it be playing cards, looking at old photographs, or discussing the current news.
Quality of life for elderly people is more than just physical health. Social, psychological, and spiritual needs should also be addressed, although they are sometimes overlooked. Many times older folks won’t admit to their families that they are lonesome or wish they had someone with whom to talk or play games.
Even when our caregivers are hired to do the “cleaning” and other senior home assistance tasks, the more important role becomes befriending the elderly person. Caregivers have stories to share, and most importantly, they haven’t heard the stories adult children have heard from their parents over and over again. Sometimes just having a fresh face from the outside world makes a huge difference in the mood of an elderly person who doesn’t get out much.
Julie Ellingson, LSW
September 23, 2016
As adult children taking care of elderly parents, we often consume most of our caregiving time addressing the medical problems and physical limitations of our elderly parents who need help with bathing, medication management, housekeeping, or errand-running. Stopping in after work or going over on the weekend to help out
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