In the words of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from the ’66 smash hit, Mothers Little Helper: What A Drag It Is Getting Old. Of course in those early days of the British invasion neither had any idea of what they were saying and while the pair still pack houses in their golden years, some fifty years later getting old isn’t exactly the fountain of youth for many of the elderly the Rolling Stones would like to reflect. The aging process is far from kind as such ailments as Dementia, Incontinence, Paralysis and chronic disease grow stronger leaving many at the mercy of nursing home care, or, under the care of adult children. The problems associated with care are numerous and the decision regarding what to do is never an easy one.
Dementia is a loss of mental functions and can start to creep into the make-up of a person as early as those fabulous fifties having a strong foothold on 50 percent of all elderly by the time they reach their mid-eighties. Something so simple as going to the bathroom is forgotten as bladder control is lost. It’s almost a return to infancy with one exception. A baby in a soiled brief cries out for attention. Many elderly aren’t aware of their own incontinence and can go for hours without any assistance, leading to yeast and other infections waste will produce.
Other problems associated with Dementia include many of the daily activities we often take for granted, such as cooking, cleaning, paying bills; even the simple task of getting dressed. If you have aging parents who are starting to grow forgetful, it could be a warning sign often hard for anyone to admit as it opens the door on a whole new world of life altering possibilities. Maybe mom should come live with us. Should I hire a home health care worker? Is it time to put dad in a nursing home? These are questions many adult children are faced with, today and the answers to such questions possess a severe impact on the lives of everyone involved.
Home Health Care attendants are Certified and Registered in every State. You should check your home State’s Registry for the Certification of the individual you may hire. While the vast majority of Home Health Care Attendants are caring individuals who possess a vast amount of patience, a small percentage have been criminally charged with abuse, neglect and theft of valuable possessions. If you choose to bring a Home Health Care Attendant into the home of an elderly parent, be prepared to take on the role of patrol officer making sure valuables remain in the home, and your parents aren’t being neglected. Be prepared to take over the responsibility of your parents banking as well as paying bills and making certain groceries are stocked in the home. Hiring a Home Health Care Attendant does not reduce your responsibility to care for those who cared for you.
Other alternatives include moving elderly parents into the home with you, or, placing them in an adult care facility. Both present consequences. How does your spouse feel about her in-laws and how critical are those in-laws bound to be when moved into the home? Bringing elderly parents into a home can put a huge strain on the best of marriages to say nothing of the effect it will have on the care and time once given to any children of couples who decide to take care of aging parents.
This doesn’t necessarily make nursing homes a healthy alternative. Taking a needy parent out of their home and placing them into a nursing home is to take them out of their castle and banish them to have a room with a whole closet. Many nursing homes have two to a room and are required to check residents every two hours, interrupting sleep. While institutions provide for healthy meals eating what you get isn’t quite the same as choosing what you eat. Roommates don’t often get along as TV’s blare and personalities clash. If you choose a nursing home, be prepared for the very real possibility of resentment and anger from your parent as well as the growing mountain of guilt you’re likely to experience.
Adult Facilities, however, are a healthy alternative if your parents suffer the growing consequences of chronic disease or paralysis from horrible events such as stroke, MS or Parkinson’s. Stroke effect’s the brain as the flow of blood is suddenly stopped, or, a blood vessel bursts. The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain in which stroke occurs. A stroke can destroy memory, the ability to speak, swallow food and use of voluntary as well as involuntary muscles. The muscles controlling our bladders are good examples of involuntary muscles. Picking up the remote to a TV is a good example of your voluntary muscles. MS and Parkinson’s also have devastating effects on our muscles and the care of those suffering from such ailments is demanding.
While chronic disease is often described as manageable, they are still illnesses of deterioration. COPD effect’s the lungs, or our breathing ability. Diabetics require daily monitoring of blood glucose and regular doses of insulin shots. It is a drag getting old and the effects of aging are as difficult on the young as it is on the elderly. Deciding how to care for our loved one’s is not to be taken lightly. Armed with knowledge and communicating openly and freely with all parties such decisions effect is the best way to avoid a future filled with regret. Discuss eldercare today. It holds the promise of a better tomorrow.