Dear Francy: I am at the end of my rope, my family never comes to see my Grandmother, not even my own Mother. I am it for her, what can I do to make them see she needs them?
Well here we go. You can get creative, because you have already turned blue asking them to come – that has gotten you no where. I asked until my voice was raw. People are busy, they have other lives, they love their Grandmother, but they feel they do not have time to spend in a visit. They think they will have to stay long, go during the day or early evening when they have so much going on…so, change their mind in another way.
Come up with some creative ways to lure them in to visit her. Tell three of your relatives that you are recording some of your grandmother’s thoughts and memories to give to the grandchildren. Then ask them if they would come on (and you actually pick a nite and time) to help you with the project. Most family members want to be a part of something that will be handed down and they will have a “reason” to come and visit. Your job? Just have a tape recorder on and let the visitor run the interview. You can retreat or have it all ready and not even be there for the event.
Divide your family up into Months of the year. In your own mind put a name of a person on each month and then call them and say. I have a favor to ask, Grandma’s doctor has asked that she have more visitors. I wonder if I can put your down for this month on the ___ at 6PM after work. You would only have to stay 20 minutes or more if it fits your schedule. But I need to get this done so the doctor can see that grandma is being helped. You will find that family members respond to doctors far faster and with more concern than they do you.
Have a party. This is fall…there is Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Plan an event in the main dining area of her care facility. Or in her own small home or apartment. Just serve a cake and tea and coffee. Halloween, you can ask the family with children to stop in the saturday evening before Halloween so Grandma can see their outfits and they will have a little treat. Obviously you want some candy in a bowl for them. Usually families will be off to parties on that Saturday and it will work great for the kids to have their costumes on and for a quick picture to be snapped. Fun for the kids, great for Grandma. Tell them if they can not come for some reason, call you so grandma will not be disappointed. Plan a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering on a Sunday night before the actual event. Once again, have cupcakes or such and drinks and just say it is a “Family Open House” and you will be looking forward to seeing them. Let them hear; “Since Grandma will be all alone on the holiday we can give her our attention early to make her feel loved and remembered.” That usually does it for the guilt factor…and as far as I am concerned in the case of senior loneliness…guilt works.
If no one comes, bring their stories to her. Make a few calls and find out who is doing what in the family and then on your visits, update her with family as well as your own news.
Make your family and friends, her family and friends. Make sure the staff of the care facility know you care, bring them cookies and place the plate in your grandmother’s room. If they want a homemade cookie, they need to pop their head in the door. Be breezie and friendly to them, so you know she gets that kindness in reflection of your interest. Bring your own friends with you to visit. Maybe you have a guy or a gal that you are with all the time, ask them to stop in with you and make a quick visit. Let them tell her some stories of their life and keep the conversation on upbeat things, not her own personal health issues.
Finally, if you have a pet, let it visit her. It is amazing how a senior will react to a cat on their lap for a few minutes, or a dog demanding head pets. Be sure to clean the animal before you bring it for a visit. And keep it on a lead even a cat…so you can easily handle them if an emergancy presents itself on your visit.
You, you get a star, not that you visit your Grandmother for stars…but you do get a hug for your caring. It is hard to understand others that do not have the same caring spirit on their side. But that is just how life is some of us are care givers and some of us are not. It is hard not to get angry or upset about others not showing love in a way that we do. Nothing can be done about it, all you can do is what you are doing now. Visit, talk, share, care and know that the universe will somehow find a way to repay you for your kindness to a person that has given so much to their elder.
Please visit my website www.seniorcarewithspirit.com and get even more tips to help you with your senior care issues.
Thanks for reading, francy Dickinson