Are you visiting elderly relatives on Mother’s Day?
Many families make a special effort to celebrate Mother’s Day and it is not unusual for this to be the first time since Christmas that they have come together.
It is sometimes only when you are in the physical presence of an elderly person that you realize that their assurance, “I’m fine”, in telephone conversations masks the struggle of day to day living. You suddenly realize that their health, and their ability to cope, is deteriorating.
A parent’s deterioration may be obvious – a dramatic loss of weight or physical frailty – but there are other, more subtle, signs that a loved one is finding it hard to manage. You may notice that their home is not being cleaned to their usual standards; paperwork may be piling up or their personal grooming may be compromised. You may notice that a parent’s mood has changed or that they have become repetitive or appear confused.
All this can be very alarming but help and support is available and it is important to act before a crisis hits so that your parent can keep control over decisions about where and how they live.
It is important to understand that many elderly people are very reluctant to complain or to admit that they are finding life difficult: they resign themselves to struggling on, often to the further detriment of their health and wellbeing. At TimeFinders we so often hear the phrase “I don’t want to be burden to my children.” Older people are also very fearful about being “put into a home” and don’t realize that this is by no means the only option.
Encouraging and supporting an elderly relative to accept having a little help now before the situation deteriorates further can mean they can stay in their own home for much longer. Such help might be just around the home or with shopping and cooking or with personal care. If their current home is unsuitable for them to stay in for the rest of their days, research shows that moving to somewhere more manageable helps people to retain their independence for longer and be healthier and happier. A new home could be the little bungalow next door, a lovely apartment or somewhere closer to family members. Sheltered accommodation can provide the security of knowing there is someone on hand just in case it is necessary whilst keeping a high level of independence. It is surprising how this simple assurance can increase someone’s confidence and enable them to live a more active and happier life.
If living independently is no longer possible or desirable there are many excellent care homes that, despite very negative and alarming media reports, provide wonderful care as well as alleviating so much of the isolation and loneliness that elderly people suffer when living alone.
A move at this time of life can seem overwhelming but there is professional, sensitive support available to help older people downsize, to find the right new home, to enable them to move with the minimum of anxiety or stress and to help them settle in happily.
If you are worried about an elderly relative,
or if you are struggling to manage at home, please call
Alison Hesketh, TimeFinders Senior Life Specialists on 01672 890801
for a free, confidential, consultation.
“I felt I had a good friend and a staunch support at my side in what would otherwise have been a highly stressful process.” Miss A.M.