Taking Baby Steps in Chapel Hill, NC

April 9, 2014

Despite the relentless aging of America, it’s estimated that nearly 70 percent of elders 65 and older have not discussed long-term care issue with their loved ones.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 8.13.35 AMEspecially if mom or dad is showing signs of dementia, it can be very challenging.  Your parent will probably be reluctant to have care, to feel the need for a caregiver.  Other family members, however, can see the signs of dementia and are very concerned.

As with most things in life, timing the conversation is important.  The ideal time to do it is before the need becomes urgent.  It allows the conversation to take place with less stress, leaving time to consider options and get comfortable with new possibilities.

From the perspective of mom or dad, it’s best to have the discussion when they are still capable of making decisions and able to decide how they want their own life to unfold.  IT’s important to have legal documents in place.  Desires as to care arrangements and how they will be paid for should be put in writing.  Identify who among your survivors will be in charge of making decisions for you.  While a visit to an attorney may be best, it can as simple a process as writing everything down clearly, getting in notarized and giving copies to your physician.

In our home care business, we see many cases where the senior loved one needs care, but will not accept the reality.  We always take “baby steps” in introducing a caregiver.  First we meet with the senior without a caregiver to understand her needs, desires, environment, and importantly, personality.  Getting the right fit with a caregiver is critical.

Home care is non-medical.  So while certain basic caregiving skills are important, the personality match may be even more critical in assuring a satisfied client.

Once a suitable caregiver has been identified, we will introduce them in a preliminary no obligation meeting.  It’s equally important that the caregiver feel comfortable with the client and the environment in which she will work. At that meeting we discuss what mom wants and does not want.  Even when care visits start, they may be short, in order for the senior not to feel overwhelmed. Each step of the way, we take “baby steps”.

It is often the case that in a short time, the caregiver and the senior become close friends.  This friendship surpasses the limitations that may arise from Alzheimer’s or dementia.  The senior starts to look forward to the visits and care goes from there.  We believe in baby steps with the care process and discussions about it.  If you try to tackle the whole thing at once, it may be overwhelming.

Filed in: News

What's On Your Mind?

Trackback URL | RSS Feed for This Entry