Last week's Newsweek column, "My Turn" features a story shared by Anne Kennedy Rickover of Lincoln, Nebraska, who recently realized it was time to move her parents from Philadelphia to Lincoln to live near her. Her parents were still living in the same house they lived in when she was a baby and now, 55 years later, it was requiring upkeep and her parents also were requiring "upkeep" with their day-to-day activities.
Rickover compares moving her parents to planning for a new baby's arrival. However, unlike a pregnancy and newborn, she did not find an easy place to go for all the answers. She talked to friends, looked for doctors and researched options. She also is already thinking ahead to how she will feel when she loses her parents, now that they will become part of her daily life.
After working with hundreds of seniors, as a former owner of a Senior Home Care Agency, I can relate to the challenges Rickover is experiencing. And as I am also babysitting my 3-month old niece this week, I find her comparison to a newborn baby very appropriate.
Babies and seniors both have daily schedules. Just as a baby will start crying if their diaper isn't changed or they are hungry, anyone who has assisted a senior with an age-related illness knows how upset they can become if their daily routine is thrown off. One of the first questions I always asked a new client was: what is your daily routine? It is important to know what time they like to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, when they prefer to take a nap, what television shows they watch and what weekly schedules are in place. While they may not tell you specifically that it upsets them if their routine is changed, they will definitely communicate this in some form after a change occurs.
When battling all the challenges of aging, a routine is one comfort seniors can count on. It is important to respect this and to try to not disturb their ways, however different they may be from ours, if we are to be successful in assisting with care.
You can read Rickover's entire story at: www.myturn.Newsweek.com
Caregiver, Senior, Care, Parents,