by francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
Dear Francy; My parent’s home is so quiet when I visit. They have the TV on mute and just watch the screen, they rarely talk and visiting them is really kind of creepy. I think there’s something wrong but I cannot put my finger on it. Any suggestions.
Yes, you are doing a great job with your assisted living care. This is the type of thing we all need to do. Be alert to changes and even if the changes are not alarming, they signal different things.
I called our neurologist this morning and left him a message on a change in my husband’s behavior with Alzheimer’s. I want the doctor to know, so he can up his meds or make a change. The change in my husband, is light, but it caught my attention so I am reporting it. My husband is replacing his words, that means he is not remembering some of his speaking vocabulary. He is also saying “I’m sorry” all the time. That means that he’s upset at his behavior and that could be a depression issue. I just report these things and the doctor then takes the steps to change medication if he feels it’s important enough.
So, you found the house too quiet. This is really a normal thing with those that are hard of hearing. They do not like to wear their hearing aids at home. ( I know it does not make sense but they all do this behavior) They say all the noise is just too distracting for them. It’s like not wearing their glasses and then they stop reading.
I understand the TV on mute with the words running across the bottom of the screen. But I would ask them to have it on low, having background noise is what keeps our brains working well. Not hearing words will change their speaking pattern so get them to go a head and have the noise in the background.
Make sure you call each day once or twice and talk to both of your parents. Many times the woman talks and man starts to get quiet. Then make sure they have at least a once a week outing to be around others. The senior center will have something that will catch their interest, or their faith center. They do not have to go to church on Sunday and be around all those people, but they can go to church during the week to a class of 20 or less, or a functions like a dinner and just enjoy the event. Take them out shopping or out to a dinner (even if its at a burger joint) get them out of the house and chatting with you.
Another good thing is to have a local young person come in to do chores. You could have kids to do the lawn or light weeding and have your dad be in charge of watching over him. You could have a young teen girl clean the kitchen or bathrooms only and your mom would supervise. Remember to choose those young workers with care, you do not want to have your parent’s things taken or a friend of theirs come to the house to rob them. Always talk to the parents first and find out if they have done chores before and if the parents will oversee their time with your parents.
If there is no one to interact with, you will find seniors pulling away from life and finding comfort in their own silence. Your job is to think of a few ways to shake the comfort up and return your parents to a more mentally and emotionally active life. Visits to the local library is great too, even if they just read the magazines, it will give them a nice outing to think and talk over
Ask them to take a walk together everyday. That may be hard for one or the other, but together they can walk around their neighborhood, over to the mail or around the block. You simply ask each of them privately and tell them the other spouse needs the outing and exercise. They may not do it for their own good, but they will do it for their loved ones good.
If they can do it, add a pet to the home, or have your children come over when you visit to add spice to the mix. Even if they complain the kids are too loud, don’t take notice. Life is too loud, they have to get back in it to remember how busy and loud the real world is for us all.
There are also charities that need help. If your mother does sewing or handiwork of any kind there are charities that need throws and quilts. If she likes to bake – your local Ronald McDonald House (family housing for hospital support) or Fisher House (military family quarters) would love home baked cookies. So would the firemen at the local firehouse. If your dad does chores, ask him to go over and get him hooked into a charity that needs their door’s oiled and the faucet drip fixed. Or if he likes to play chess, cards or pool, the local veterans’ home will enjoy his visiting energy for those that can not leave their rooms. Charity and community service is to be done all of our lives, not stop at retirement.
Just keeping your ear and eyes open. Listening to your heart and knowing when there’s a change. Then respond with a thought of what that change is and how you could use your creativity to make the change for the good not the bad. One step back can be turned around to two steps forward if you trust your inner voice and act on your “psychic” or “intuition” of how to give care to your parents.
Good job on your part and I hope you will visit my website and read about the many tips and ideas I have there. www.seniorcarewithspirit.com Remember if your parents need more assisted living needs and have to move out of their home, call me. I have a FREE Senior Placement Service that will help you find just the right match for your seniors needs.
Thank you , francy