Healthy Aging: Accepting Change

eldercare at home elderly home assistance elderly home care service help for senior caregivers home care companies home care in Minnesota senior home assistance senior companion care senior citizen careAfter 7 years, it was time for my client “Sadie” to have a new at-home caregiver.  Her long-time caregiver “Mary” had to leave.  I have to admit, I anticipated that Sadie would have a difficult time adjusting to someone new.  After all, Mary had been with her for 7 years!  Imagine the history they had together.  Mary knew all of Sadie’s little quirks.  She knew that when Sadie got a little “snappy” that she was in pain. She knew exactly how Sadie liked her bed to be made and the stores where she liked to shop.  She knew where Sadie kept the quarters for her laundry.

When I asked Sadie how she felt about having a new caregiver, she began to sing an old song she had learned many years ago as a child, “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old.”  It was a song with which the new caregiver and I were both familiar.  The three of us ended up singing it together.  Then we all broke out into laughter.  You know the lyrics:

Make new friends,

But keep the old.

One is silver

And the other, gold.

 

Sadie’s attitude was amazing.  Although she was mourning the loss of a caregiver (as well as a good friend), she saw the new caregiver as an opportunity to make yet another friend.  She was anticipating a new and lasting relationship and was excited about getting to know her new helper.

affordable home care assisted home care companion home care disability home care elder care in Minnesota home care services for seniors home help for the elderly in home care Minneapolis non medical senior careAs people age, they lose relationships with peers, friends, and family members because of death, moves into facilities, and the inability to get around to visit.  The ability to make new friends with those living in close proximity becomes a very important skill.  Those who don’t have this skill are more isolated and alone.  Those who have it are able to expand and improve their quality of life as they allow new people into it.

Adult children taking care of elderly parents can help ease the discomfort of change by understanding how their parents respond to it and acting accordingly.  Seniors who lack this skill might need a little more help from their adult children and other family members, who can become bridges to new relationships or become replacements themselves.

Seniors face many changes.  And just like people of any age, the ability to adjust to change depends upon the attitude toward it.

 

Julie Ellingson, LSW

May 30, 2013

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