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July 24th, 2019
As we age, we face new challenges in life; whether that challenge is buying your first home or at an older age contemplating leaving that home. At some point, household tasks, cooking, laundry or yard work might be too much for one to handle. Asking for help can be hard when facing new challenges, especially when living in the same environment and having a routine for a long period of time.
Today we caught up with one member of our Board of Director’s Sister Georgann Vumbaco to help understand the dos and don’ts of helping an aged family member make a change in their living situation. Sister Georgann is a Eucharistic Minister in Meriden. In this role she has the the opportunity to be present with seniors and their families as they try to grapple with planning for aging. We wanted to gain some perspective on what emotional/spiritual issues might be facing someone at this stage in life. Sister was more than happy to share some insights with us.
Sister responded “It is important to support your loved one- this is number one! They need to feel that they have people that will back up their decision, even if their first choice does not work out. She went on to say “Family members also have to realize that they cannot make all the decisions for them, but instead help them in deciding by giving them the best options to choose from. It is important to NOT have your own agenda about what is felt to be the best decision. Let your loved one know what is available to them in terms of extra help and let them choose from options that are found to be appropriate. Be present for them, this type of decision is not going to be made in hours or days, it is a long process”.
“How best to do this, Sister?”
“Listen to your loved one. They know themselves best, present what you see, but also listen to how they feel or what they feel they need help with”.
You as a loved one may see that they are not eating properly or the house is not as tidy as it once was; they may feel that cans and jars are hard to open, that they are lonely, and do not feel steady on their feet. If your elderly loved one does not feel that you are listening or if you do not ask, they will not tell you”.
Sister concluded by saying….
“People want to live their lives to the fullest. They want to feel that the next big step is not their last or final step, but the beginning of another chapter. When changes are being made for people, it makes their world smaller as essentially physical things, and emotional things are being taken away. Mentally they can feel abandoned and demoralized, taking their mental stability away”.
We would like to add…..
Do your homework!! Look at different options whether home healthcare, retirement community/ long term living community, moving the loved one into a family member’s home or scheduling family members to help in extra areas. There are benefits to each option, two would allow the loved one to stay in their home, which for them may be ideal, the other two would remove them from the home; however, would give them more social interaction and support. Remember that when moving a loved one into your home and scheduling family to come in and help with tasks, that it takes time and dedication each week. For example helping with meals is more that just one week and is necessary to check up on them to ensure that they are eating. If moving a loved one into your home, try to integrate some of them into your home, it can be as simple as putting their favorite chair next to yours in the living room. When looking at home healthcare and long-term living facilities, remember to look at reviews, take tours, and ask questions! Take a look and print out our “Tips for Choosing a Facility” under the Resource tab.
At The Bradley Home….
We have a community full of care and support. Residents can flourish and take part in what interests them or can share with the community their interests. Friendly residents from the Welcoming Committee helps in showing them around and different activities. Art and weaving are some favorite activities that allow you to stay active, create, socialize, and retain/strengthen motor skills. Recreational activities gives social interaction, mental/physical exercise and fun! Residents that would like to give back to the community can also volunteer to do various tasks including but not limited to passing out water pitchers, working in the on-site store, and delivering mail.
Thank you Sister Georgann for reminding us of what is most important in helping to care for our love ones!