What’s your first thought when you wake in the morning?
We’re quick to assume fading interests, isolation, and indifferent attitudes are part of the aging process. The elderly are perceived to be irritable, disagreeable, or crotchety people who enjoy being alone. They loath youthful visitors interfering with their daily routine and are judgmental nuisances. Why are seniors viewed so negatively? We’re unempathetic to the needs and wants of our aging population. It’s easier to label than motivate and encourage. Physical and mental decline limit seniors’ participation in society. They recognize their declining fitness or slowing cognitive abilities and avoid activities magnifying these short-comings. Their self-esteem begins to diminish along with socialization. How can we actively engage our seniors and help them regain/maintain independence?
1.) Promote Usefulness
Seniors need a sense of purpose, a feeling of usefulness. Include aging loved-ones in conversations. Ask for their opinions on topics of interest. Urge active participation in making a care plan. Allow them to complete tasks within their physical limits. Show appreciation for their lives and accomplishments.
2.) Encourage Self-Identity
Our elders have lived fascinating lives. They’ve witnessed events we’ve only read in history books. Their aging exteriors cover once young, energetic, vibrant interiors. Encourage conversations detailing their adventurous youth. Ask questions about memorable life experiences. Surround them with pictures and personal items reminiscent of specific time periods. Show interest in their past, present, and future lives.
3.) Set Goals
Creating realistic goals gives focus and motivation to seniors. Accomplishing goals encourages independence and usefulness. Arrange activities and compliment when objectives are achieved. Fuel motivation by setting attainable goals and acknowledging success.
4.) Introduce Technology
Educate seniors about technology and its societal advantages. Encourage connection with family and friends through social-networking. Discuss the importance of elderly monitoring systems in homecare. Promote mental stimulation through online engagement in daily current events and literature.
The aging process limits physical and cognitive abilities. It creates doubt and deflates self-esteem. Encourage and motivate seniors by promoting their lives and accomplishments. Allow participation in our technology-driven society by providing necessary equipment and knowledge. Assist our aging population with regaining/maintaining their independence. How can we help the elderly stay independent? Leave a comment! Thank you for reading! Please share!
“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.” — Tia Walker, author
Living in “Rural America” is gratifying. The sounds of clattering suburbia are replaced by serene quietness. Days and nights are peaceful, absent of commotion and traffic. The view of the moon and stars isn’t obstructed by city smog. People and nature are at peace with the environment. I’ve lived in a rural setting my entire life and LOVE it! Whippoorwills, white-tailed deer, locust, blueberry fields, and cranberry bogs are daily sights and sounds of my “Rural America”. But, with peacefulness comes seclusion. I currently live 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store, 40 minutes from my physician, 40 minutes from the nearest shopping mall, and 25 minutes from the “local” Chinese restaurant. For some this is mindboggling, but for me it’s life. I never realized the inconveniences of living rurally until my grandmother fell ill and needed healthcare support. Those inconveniences were immediately magnified. I’ve stressed the importance of utilizing resources available to caregivers and care-recipients. However, most of those resources are not available to individuals receiving homecare in a rural setting.
1.) Transportation Services
Small towns in “Rural America” compared to urban and suburban communities lack funds to provide necessary transportation services to caregivers and care-recipients. Residents living in exurban communities are limited in their independence and abilities to complete daily errands.
2.) Adult Daycare Centers
Limited monetary resources and poor infrastructure both contribute to unavailable homecare resources. We can’t compete with the wealth of populated cities. Therefore, healthcare relief facilities are absent in rural communities. And, without transportation services, caregivers and care-recipients can’t be transported to neighboring facilities.
3.) Home Healthcare Agencies
Remote locations hinder the process of hiring dependable home healthcare agencies. Nurses and aides are reluctant to travel to these locations because of travel time and distance.
4.) Respite Care
We realize the importance of respite care during caregiving, but a short-term break is not always readily available, especially in a rural setting. The inability to find home healthcare agencies willing to travel to your location narrows your options when trying to obtain respite care. Without agencies, your main source of relief care is dependable family and friends. But, most families live at great distances from the caregiver and care-recipient. Friends and neighbors work or are raising families. Daily/weekly respite care may not be an option.
If living in “Rural America” is inconvenient for the aging population, why don’t they relocate to an area better equipped for their needs? The elderly in rural communities have limited incomes and live at or near poverty level. Most live alone and have health concerns. How can they relocate? Why should they be disadvantaged by their living location?
I was an informal caregiver for 11 years in a rural setting. Getting good, quality care for your loved-one is nearly impossible. Caregivers are required to perform many heath-related procedures beyond their training because healthcare agencies are not willing to travel 40 miles. How do you transport a bed-bound patient to a doctor’s office 35 miles away with no medical transportation services? How can you provide the proper care to a loved-one when skilled nurses are unwilling to travel to your location? Caregiving is difficult, but lack of proper resources makes it more stressful and overwhelming. Respite care? Yeah right! That’s a luxury provided by a family member every couple months.
Caregivers and care-recipients living in rural communities deserve more resources. Location shouldn’t hinder the quality of care received by a loved-one. Do you live in “Rural America”? How can homecare resources be improved? Leave a comment! Thank you!
Why are you a caregiver?
I’ve detailed the struggles of caregiving, but haven’t emphasized the resources available to caregivers and patients. We’re aware of the emotional and financial struggles of caregiving, but what resources can help a caregiver create balance in their seemingly unpredictable, erratic environment?
1.) Government Programs
Caregiving can be financially draining for both the caregiver and patient. Homecare costs are expensive! Seek financial assistance through government programs such as Medicaid. Some states offer waiver programs to assist with caregiving costs. Counties have departments dedicated to the aging or disabled. Many seniors are eligible for a “tax freeze” on their property taxes. Can you receive compensation for providing caregiving services? Take advantage of ALL government funded programs. You and your loved-one are entitled to those benefits. Not sure what you qualify for? Visit BenefitsCheckUp and determine your eligibility for offered benefits.
2.) Veteran’s Benefits
Is the care-recipient a veteran or spouse of a veteran? He/she could be receiving aid for homecare from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans or their spouses could be entitled to annual property tax deductions. Local governments may offer adult daycare for our American heroes. They served our country, let our country help them!
3.) Homecare Services
Finding and hiring a reputable homecare agency is challenging and expensive. The amount of paperwork can deter the most organized person. When searching for dependable homecare services, research independent caregivers. Many retired registered nurses offer paid caregiving services. Care.com allows you to locate local caregivers and read summaries of their qualifications, availabilities, and services.
4.) Meal Preparation
Caring for a loved-one involves A LOT of meal preparation. Planning daily meals is time consuming, especially if the patient has specific dietary needs. Research available meal programs by contacting your local municipality. Meals on Wheels America is one organization offering delivered meals to housebound seniors.
Integrating technology into homecare is beneficial for both the caregiver and patient. If your loved-one doesn’t require 24-hour care and can live somewhat independently, an in-home monitoring system may be appropriate for your caregiving situation. Observe their routine via cell phone, tablet, or computer while you’re home, working, or running errands.
Instating a dependable support system is vital when caregiving. It decreases stress and helps eliminate caregiver burnout. Delegate daily tasks to willing family members and friends. If help is offered, TAKE IT! Feeling stressed and need to vent? Join an online caregiver support group. Chat with and express your concerns to other caregivers. Knowing you’re not alone during your journey is calming. Support groups provide a platform for asking questions and receiving insightful responses to caregiving questions.
Sometimes you choose to be a caregiver and sometimes caregiving chooses you. Whatever your unique circumstance, know you’re not alone. Provide you and your loved-one with deserved help by utilizing offered resources. Please share! Thank you and take care!