Dear Francy; Both of my parents are now in adult home care. Lots of people ask me what they can do to help…and I don’t really know what to say?
That hit a heart note for me. I would have loads of folks ask how they could help with my mother’s care and I would feel the same. So much to do, but so little to offer to others. So, through the years a few things have come up to help others be ready with an answer.
One of my clients had a dad at home with her. She would send an email each month out to family and extended family about her father. At the end of the message she would always include something her dad had asked for that month. Once it was a new electric razor, he wanted an lighter one that was cordless and held a charge so he could shave from his chair, not have to stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom. She would ask anyone that could make that dream come true to call her before purchase, so the details could be discussed. It worked like a charm. One of his older grandson’s went out and looked around for just the right item, called and talked it over with his Aunt and made the purchase. He came over with two cold beers and he and his grandpa had a great time visiting, and reading over the how to’s on the new shaver. Good times had by all, just because she was able and thoughtful enough to share her Dad’s needs and the family responded. The next month she thanked the young man in the next email and asked the family if anyone was going out to buy plants at a nursery. Her dad had been an avid gardener and missed it so. Back came a reply from an older neighbor and she told him her dad was embarrassed to go out because of his prostate condition that required him to use the bathroom all the time. The neighbor said no problem, he would make it a short trip – just enough to get some air and see some plants. She talked to her Dad and told him to wear one of his “Depends” type of products just for that occasion so he could relax and he said, OK. Off he went for a 90 minute trip to the nursery that he talked about non stop to anyone visiting – all the rest of the spring.
Another client had an aunt in a care facility. Each time she visited her aunt there were new things that she needed her niece to bring to her. The client would write them down. If anyone asked her what they could do, she would look up her list and share a couple of things and ask them if they wanted to cross them off the list. They always were amazed at how organized she was and they always responded with great help and in a timely manner.
People, friends, family, neighbors want to help you through any kind of life changing situation. They just have to be guided as to what to do. Something as simple as; “We need a Wed or Thursday afternoon or evening visitor for 20 minutes – could I put you down on the list for that this week?” The person is able to adjust their busy calendar and do a friend a kindness. It makes winners all around.
You do have to be prepared, you do have to think over these things and know that your life has changed so you need to be even more protective of your time and your money spent. Have a small calendar handy in your car or purse. Have a list of “needs” for your senior at the ready. Have a list of “enjoys” too. Maybe the senior has a strong heritage from another country or part of the US. They may be craving a special honey ham from Kentucky or sauerkraut from the local German deli. Let people know, the senior always loves it when they get a little taste of home. Maybe there’s a special movie that they always enjoy, or a book that they have read over every few years, or music that they truly enjoy. If you have a few of those things handy, how easy it will be for you to come right back to anyone that enquires about how they can serve you or your senior.
If giving is rewarded – you have to give others a chance to “give”. Responding with an “Ok”, or a “thank you that was kind, but we’re OK”…is simply silly. You are not OK, you are in the middle of a very difficult time and allowing others to help you, is what caring is all about. Let them care for you, and your senior and then you can be fresh and happy to give your senior your “up side”.
There are more tips and information on my web site, please come and visit. www.seniorcarewithspirit.com I would be pleased to hear your questions and see if I can be of help. If you know anyone that is giving care to their family members, spouse or friends…please share my tips with them.
Thanks for your time, francy Dickinson