I have worked as a Assisted Living Administrator for many years. I have seen it all! My first piece of advice is to understand, as our parents grow old, they grow even younger at a very fast rate. They revert back to not wanting to go any where with out mom (that has now became you). Basically, they are fearful of doing or being someplace and not having that trusted family member with them. For example, when they forget how to do simple things like fill out a check for a Dr. Office co-pay, they are uncertain & look for your help. Or getting on the facility van and then … what should they do? They will be thinking, “What if I don’t know when to get off the bus?”
If you have children, you will remember when you first put them out into the big world alone. You went with them as they first walked to school, you would come eat lunch with them because it was all too overwhelming at first. Yes, you even brought a set of clean clothes just in case they couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time.
Lord forbid as a grown-up (that has managed a whole lifetime successfully) would have a bowel accident in the dinning room of a assisted living facility with 80 other people watching. This is what is going on in your parents minds! You may not even know that Dad wipes the milk off Mom’s chin at the dinner table or that he cleans her up late into the evening because shortly after bedtime she can’t make it in time to the bathroom. Some things Dad may not share with you.
See the picture I’m painting? You are the only one at this time they trust to cover for them. So, like we did with our children, we break away slowly. This allows our parents to gain trust in the facility. Good idea to stop taking them in your car. Instead, ride on the van with them a few times, but let the caregiver do the work, the transfers, help getting their coat on etc, etc.
Our seniors need to use what they have paid for. You can tell them, “Dad we are paying $150. a month because the facility has transportation for you. Then move it on to “You have a appointment, you ride in the van and I will be at the Dr. Office when you arrive”. Again, letting the caregiver do all the assistance. Just be with them. Get where I’m going with this? Do the same with the dining room, eat with them, and then slowly start backing off once you can see they are making friends. It’s a long road, but its one I have seen work many times. Blessings and praise to you for your heart of gold, and the willingness to ask for help. Anyone else there?
I have other tips on my site LaneSeniorLiving.com written by: Tricia Pruen