Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys, and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.
My father insists he is never going to leave his house. It is the same house his grandfather built with his own hands. And my grandfather added a garage and front porch. And my father added a deck in the back. We understand why he is so attached to his house, but he won’t even try talking about how he can’t manage by himself anymore. He can’t take care of the outside of the house at all. He can’t go upstairs anymore so we moved his bedroom into the first floor den. He won’t prepare food for himself which drives me bonkers. He could through together a sandwich. He could heat something up in the microwave, but he won’t; Grandma always waited on him and she died almost 2 years ago now. My family runs over there with meals. We tried Meals on Wheels, but he didn’t eat much of it. He only eats the pasta and sauce my mother makes because it tastes like Grandma’s. He’s not walking good, he refuses to use a walker. He’s all by himself a lot and he just sits by the window – no TV or radio – he just sits. His memory is starting to go too. If we try to talk to him, he gets crazy mad and yells. Do you have a suggestion for us? We hope you do.
Grandpa is likely depressed, which is only adding to the difficulties of the situation. Call his doctor and fill him/her in on what’s going on. Ask for a memory and depression evaluation. Book an appointment. Have someone attend the appointment with Grandpa; someone he trusts and listens to better than the rest. That person’s job is to share the ways that Grandpa is depressed and how worried everyone is.
In the end, if Grandpa won’t “reason” and if he is unsafe at home alone (not eating, getting more and more depressed) then it’s time for duress. I reserve duress for unsafe situations only. The family needs to meet together, build a strategy and then sit down with Grandpa and lay it all out, even if he yells.
It is often very helpful to have a professional third party assist with all this. Call my office and we’ll talk. Keep reading.
CONSIDERATIONS IN MOVING AN ELDER FROM HIS/HER BELOVED HOME
When an elder considers moving from the family home to a senior community, the following worries should be addressed:
1. There is a houseful of belongings – it is an overwhelming task for anyone to consider tackling.
A. Hire a Move Manager – perform an online search. They are amazing.
B. Determine what will go to the new location. Carefully box the remainder in labelled boxes which will make them easy to locate and put them in a storage unit. They can be reviewed one box at a time.
2. The elder may feel lost in the new digs.
A. Take photos and set up the new place to match the family home as much as possible. This is particularly helpful in the kitchen and the bathroom; take a photo of each cupboard’s contents. Box them one cupboard at a time, labelling each box numerically from left to right in the order that the cupboards appear in the current kitchen.
B. Clothing drawers do not get emptied for the movers.
C. Drawers with items that might roll around can be topped off with bubble wrap and sealed. (Nice!)
3. The elder may worry s/he will not remember other people’s names.
A. Stop by the community for lunch or entertainments prior to move in and introduce your elder to three people there. The Marketing and Admissions personnel can help guide you on good choices.
B. Remind your loved one that everyone at the community had their first day and week. They all know how it feels and will understand.
4. The elder may worry s/he will never see you again.
A. Put upcoming visits on the calendar for after the move. Plan on being their for dinner the first night and again on the first weekend sometime. Then plan an outing with the family on another date.
B. Try to remember to keep an upcoming date on the calendar at all times.
C. And call regularly.
Trivia By John Sproul
Many of the pioneers who traveled to Idaho used what famous route?
A. Route 66
B. The Idaho Trail
C. The Coastal Highway
D. The Oregon Trail
The correct answer is D. Although this historic route is called the Oregon Trail, it was used by pioneers traveling to many different north-west areas. It is usually thought to be from from Independence, Missouri to Oregon. Several famous photographs show wagon wheel ruts worn into solid rock by the huge numbers of covered wagons that traveled this route.