Jun 7, 2017 by Stephanie Howe - Owner, Comfort Keepers
For people who have lived out the same life routines for 60 years or more, or for people who have made various adaptations to keep the basic tenor of their lives the same, old habit and expectations die hard. Seniors who are used to routine, may not want to change the way they are living. Because of this, they may hold stubbornly onto their independence, in spite of increasing health risks.
When adults reach a transitional age into their senior years, many life aspects of physical, social, financial and work significantly change. Out of the desire to maintain constant life experiences, elderly may move over change or take wrongful measures to compensate for lost abilities.
The Process of Aging brings many physical changes. There may be a general slowing down of activity levels, or there may be significant sensory losses. Seniors may still do the same things, but it may take longer. They may not be as mobile as they were before. Their driving skills may have decreased significantly which could also put down their confidence.
When retirement begins, a set of permanent changes and work-related identity they have grown to know soon vanishes. Self-esteem and feelings of usefulness may become part of a general hatefulness and low-level depression. Friends and family, familiar human contacts may begin to narrow as individuals pass away or suffer a permanent change in their lives.
Many things come with emotional, physical, and sensory change. This may include nutritional failure, failure to take needed medications on time, sleep deprivation, dehydration and other ills that come from poor hygiene. In cases of acute or sudden onset of a condition, these changes may be gradual and difficult to detect at first. Signs of needing help may appear gradually until it becomes clear that help is needed.
Part of the problem that your loved ones may have with accepting help is that they don't always want to acknowledge facing changes in their lives. One problem may have to do with self-esteem. In today's culture, needing help due to a lack of self-sufficiency is seen as demeaning. To offset this stereotype, family members must introduce in-home care to their senior member correctly.
The senior who needs in-home care will require solid evidence that he or she is in danger without help. The concept of in-home care should be presented in a matter-of-fact way. The implications should be limited to the truth, and it should not touch key areas of self-esteem. Family members need to listen to the concerns of the senior, not roll decisions over them. The status of the individual senior, his or her accomplishments and abilities should continue to be respected and honored. The necessity for change has to be presented with affection and love.
What senior citizens face, as they age, is like marching into strange territory. The support of more capable, younger family members and others is essential, but no one should forget where they came from and whom they are dealing with. When presenting the options that are available, they must be shown as personal choices, not inspired by others with interests of their own. Decisions about how and where the senior person wants to live and spend their time must also be the senior's decision, within the available range of choices.
In many cases, bringing in home care workers (what experts call "aging in place"), where it is possible, is far preferable to entering some form of institutional living such as a nursing home. Home care does not cover 24 hours a day seven days a week. It will involve gaps of time where the senior is alone and may need some supervision from family members or friends. Often aging in place requires modifications of the home or the introduction of new furnishings and beds.
Comfort Keepers is happy be part of the Tom’s River, New Jersey senior care network. Our caregivers are here to act as senior care consultants for you and your loved ones. Please contact us at (732) 557-0010 to learn more!