Packaging the Idea of Senior Care
For someone in her late-seventies, my mom is pretty self-sufficient, but that doesn’t mean that much comes easy to her. For almost as long as I can remember, she’s suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. So things I’m lucky enough to take for granted – like being able to rise from a chair and walk across a room without discomfort – haven’t been part of her life for a long time now.
As I said, my mom is self-sufficient. She cleans, she drives, she shops, and she cooks. Her townhouse still looks neat and clean, and her fridge is usually full when I come over to visit. But I’ve realized that maintaining her home is taking too much out of her – even when I pitch in to help. Lately, she’s been spending less time doing things that she enjoys, like drawing old Victorian houses or tending flowers in her garden. My mom also seems to be spending less time socializing, too.
Lately, I’ve found myself worrying more about my mom’s happiness than about her ability to take care of herself. But I’ve drawn the conclusion that getting someone to help take care of my mom would give her the time and energy she needs to focus more on the things she enjoys instead of the things she has to do. And I’ve started looking into the possibility of arranging for some senior care for her.
One thing I soon discovered was that senior care comes in almost as many forms as there are seniors. Some seniors, for example, have lost the ability to live alone without help. Possibly they can no longer drive. Perhaps they no longer have the energy to clean or shop. Or maybe the issue is cognitive, where the senior can no longer reliably manage things like paying bills, keeping appointments, or managing medications. Senior care can address any one of these issues, or all of them – depending on the situation.
Other seniors are like my mom. They can still handle things, but – either by choice or necessity – would be better off delegating. Like my mom, they can do almost anything. The problem is that it’s getting too hard to do everything. My mom needs someone to – more regularly than I can – relieve her of some of the burden of managing everyday tasks. With some senior care, she could have the luxury of deciding which tasks to hold onto, and which ones to delegate to a care provider.
I’ve also been wrestling with the idea of how to bring up the subject without it being quickly dismissed. While my mom enjoys my help, it’s because it’s provided with love by her son. I’m not sure that she would be open to the idea of relying on someone else to do the dishes, scrub the floors, or fold her laundry. She would say she can do it herself, and she would be right.
So I’ve decided to package the idea of senior care as a way to enhance her life – not take over the management of it. Every task handled by a caregiver can give my mom a little more time, energy, and freedom to do what she wants. I also discovered that some senior care might offer some social benefit for her. Seniors Helping Seniors is an agency that employs seniors as care providers. It would be nice if she enjoyed the company provided by the caregiver, just like she enjoys my company when I drop by to lend a hand.
I’m hoping that my mom is open to the idea of getting some help from a senior care agency for a few hours a week. If I can get her to understand that getting some help is about providing freedom – and not taking it – that will go a long way in getting her to agree to it. If she believes that the care agency could introduce her to a friendly new senior or two, that would be helpful as well. More happiness and independence are almost within my mom’s reach – she just needs a little boost to get there.