Monday, January 5, 2009

Week of January 4


What plans have you for your home in the New Year? My DH and I were talking just last night about how we'd like to plant blackberry bushes this year. We had access to some at a former home we owned, and we loved being able to pick so many. So, I will be doing some research about this.

How's your entryway looking? We've been having rainy spells in a row, lately. As soon as I know we'll be having some warmish, dry days in a row, I hope to re-paint my front door. I'll use the same color (a forest green), but give it a fresh coat.

More on our unit about caring for the elderly:

Some older people have such faith in the Lord and such a positive mindset, that they become even more sunny and more encouraging as they grow older. Even in pain or when facing other effects of aging, their spirit remains sweet and beautiful. With faith, we can actually become more Christlike in our declining years.

Other people, however, simply have a difficult time with aging, and we don't need to compare or judge them. Sometimes, elderly people face problems that are beyond their ability to cope. Thus, they may complain, mope, express anger, or otherwise seem quite unhappy. With prayer, we might be able to say or do some things to help an elderly person have a more positive attitude. We need to do this, however, with an attitude of support and understanding. It's also best if we don't take complaints or sharp comments personally, but realize that the elderly one is suffering.

A. Here are some reasons why your elderly loved one may seem difficult to work with.
1) He or she is afraid of the changes that are associated with aging and death, but either cannot recognize and express fears or denies fears. The fear may come out as being sharp, critical, or quarrelsome.
2) After being a capable adult for many decades, it's hard to surrender independence and control of one's own schedule and surroundings. For example, if a grandmother comes to live with a daughter, it may be hard for her to fit into her daughter's home management plans after having managed a home of her own for so long. Also, it's hard when someone you raised is now becoming sort of a parent to you. An older person may actually mean to be helpful by giving lots of advice, but can inadvertently make the younger person feel inadequate.
3) The person's personality may be changing due to illness. The various forms of senility attack brain structure and brain chemistry. Brain damage due to senility can affect how a person perceives and reacts to life. The older person may have no control over how senility changes his personality.
4) Medications can affect an older person's perceptions and reactions. In most cases, medications can be adjusted to give the person better mental functioning, so it's worth asking your health care provider to assess the situation.
5) It might be difficult for a person who has always been healthy to live with constant pain and a body in which first one thing goes wrong and then, another.

Sometimes, we might "be difficult" as well. Some reasons why we might contribute to tension with an aging relative might be
1) Being under stress. Allowing momentary feelings of frustration and hurt to build up and become resentment. Not taking our burdens to the Lord and leaving them there. Not accepting or asking for help in taking care of our parent. Not allowing ourselves to have human emotions about taking care of an aging relative. Not knowing how to balance marriage, parenting, and being a daughter all at the same time.
2) The aging of a parent might bring out unresolved conflicts from our younger years. A parent's sunset years are a great opportunity for a child to forgive past resentments and also to develop a new compassion for a parent. We can come to grips with the fact that our parent was and is -- as we all are --imperfect humans in need of grace and love.
3) The aging of a parent puts us daily in touch with our own mortality. Not only that, but in caring for the elderly much of our time must necessarily be spent dealing with medical issues. Again, if we look at this in a positive light, it's an opportunity. It's an opportunity for us to develop our faith and focus our priorities on the eternal, rather than on things that will not last.
4) We may simply not want to let our parent age and die. We want them to always remain the strong, loving parent we always knew. Of course, we will feel some sadness as we watch a parent age, particularly if the process involves suffering on our parent's part. Yet, we have to come to terms with who our parent is now and love them as they are now.
5) You may have aging issues of your own. You might be in mid-life or even the beginnings of your senior years, yourself. You may have less physical energy than you once had. Taking care of your own health is vital if you are a care giver for someone who is older.


Finances and caring for the people in our family (These are unpleasant issues to think about, but are a necessary part of our home management in today's world):

1) Do you have a will? Have you clearly spelled out who should take care of your children should anything happen to you? Don't assume that the issue of guardianship will automatically resolve itself; spell things out legally just in case.
2) Do your parents have a will? Do you know where it is? Do you parents have a living will? Do you know what their wishes are regarding medical issues, where they want to be buried, etc. If your parents are elderly, do you have a power of attorney ready to use if you need to step in and make financial decisions for them?
3) Have you made yourself familiar with the HEPA laws? Have you done what is necessary to be able to obtain information if your spouse, child, or parent has a medical emergency, and have you given permission for at least two close people, including your spouse, to obtain medical information should you have a medical emergency.

Stretching:

Do you take a few moments to stretch, either in the morning or at the end of a long day, or both? Do you stretch before and after workouts? Stretching is one thing that's easy to forget, but it takes only a few moments and can pay big dividends. For one thing, stretching muscles you've worked, either in managing your home or in exercise can stave off aches and pains. Also, retaining flexibility and balance now, in your youth or middle age, can help you retain mobility in your senior years. The older you are, the more important it is to stretch.

You don't have to do a lot of complicated stretches to reap the benefits. Just spend a couple of minutes reaching upwards and then slowly bending down, letting your head and arms hang freely. Sit on the floor with your legs spread, and bend forward with a straight back. Feel the stretch in your legs.

Managing a home provides lots of opportunities to stretch. Take a few deep breaths before you make the bed in the morning. Do a few stretches while waiting for water to boil. Stretch before climbing into bed. If you work a few stretches into your home routine, you won't be taking away any time from your day.

Be sure to take a stretch break now and again if you sit at the computer for long periods of time.

Happy Homemaking!
Elizabeth

1 comment:

Blessed With 4 said...

I remember when I was a kid, my aunt had blackberries on her property and my cousin and I would pick them. I loved sharing that time with my cousin :) We were like sisters growing up.
Thank you for all the posts and information you are taking the time to post on caring for the elderly.
My entryway is looking good. I am trying to houseshop for new decorations to put on the shelves as you come in the door.
Blessings, BJ