By Tom Mathei
Seniors certainly do….
It’s funny how our minds play tricks on us, as we move through life. Mostly it is the clock that is the trickster. Remember back to your childhood when everything was out of your reach because you were too young, or too small. You were always in a hurry at that age. Feeling the clock move either faster, or slower depends on what you are in line for. If you had a big test the next day that you hadn’t studied for, the clock feels as though it is racing at break neck speed towards test time and doom. Conversely, it feels like the clock literally crawls when you are waiting for that magical 21st birthday.
When you are a senior, the clock only has one speed. Fast, as in “a New York minute”. You can feel it. It has an almost physical sensation associated with it. So much to do, and so little time. As we age, our bodies go through changes that our mind refuses to recognize. We sub conscientiously want to slow the clock down, but just can’t seem to make it happen. When physical changes occur we try to rationalize, or in the case of the male seniors, ignore them all together. Declining eyesight and hearing are the first to be ignored, or rationalized away by seniors. Everyone else around you notices when you don’t respond when you are spoken to, or respond incorrectly because you didn’t hear what you thought you did. If it gets bad enough your children will reluctantly start dropping hints. That is not a good plan for a myriad of reasons.
As a result of modern medicine generations are lasting longer. Life expectancy is on the rise. With longer life spans comes a new dilemma for both the seniors and their offspring: Who is going to take care of Mom and Dad? How are offspring going to handle the responsibility? How are we going to make the money last? The first thing to do before getting involved in your parent’s lives is to understand what they are going through. As the clock races and the seniors try to stay young at heart, somebody has to be paying attention to the signs along the way that MUST be addressed, if a safe, happy, golden years period is to be enjoyed by all.
In order to accomplish your senior goals one must listen closely and observe your senior. Engage with them in serious conversation. What do they want? How can you separate their wants from needs, especially when the clock is moving and things are changing in “a New York Minute”. One basic thought to keep in mind as the senior ages and experiences multiple physical changes… the world around them stays the same. The clearest examples of this are found in the home. Stairs, regular household chores, even reaching the top shelf become challenges that sneak up from behind and shackle the senior. When that time comes it is advised that you consult with a professional in-home care specialist. They can evaluate the home for safety and numerous other senior concerns. Most In-home care professionals provide this service for free. Other services you might look for are light housekeeping, pet care, meal preparation and personal hygiene. If your senior needs a higher level of service, look for in-home care professionals that carry a “comprehensive license”, that is above the basic license. Comprehensive licensees provide all of the above services, plus certain elevated nursing services, such as post surgical assistance, wound care and dementia care. The more capabilities the in-home care provider can deliver, the easier it will be for the senior’s family to coordinate a well thought out senior homecare plan, and stay ahead of the “New York Minute” pace and condition of your senior.