As the years pass, some daily activities become a little more difficult. Perhaps we have an injury or the body can no longer do what the mind thinks it can. Take my mother for instance, at 92 years young, she decided to remove a vine from a tree.
Needless to say, after a few yanks, the vine gave up its grip sending my mother flying backwards. There she lay for the next couple of hours with a broken arm unable to get up. The gardener finally found her and called 911. Although my mother’s independence is admirable, it cost her a trip to the hospital, a 30 day stay in a rehab center, plus six weeks of physical therapy. This may have been prevented if my mother had listened to our repeated requests to hire an in-home caretaker.
After this incident, we told her a caregiver would be coming to her home 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. This did not go over very well. She complained about no longer being independent and not being comfortable allowing a stranger in her home.
After going through the interview process with various agencies, we found a good match with a licensed, bonded and insured company. By hiring a company, we knew we had recourse if anything were to happen such as injury to my mother, theft, or if the caregiver was unable to make her shift, in which case the company could provide a replacement. Next was the process of interviewing caregivers, which gave Mom the opportunity to choose the person with whom she felt most comfortable.
Three years later, Mom and her caregiver Sandra are like best friends. Mom looks forward to Sandra’s arrival every morning. They often go to lunch, movies, theater and shopping. Mom realizes having Sandra come to her home has actually given her more independence. Sandra keeps Mom safe while keeping her active and entertained, which has given her a new lease on life.
It took Mom about 3 days to bond with Sandra. Trust is critical with elderly people and trust builds over time. They started with casual chats about life, family and food preferences, and keeping Mom’s daily routine was important. Mom now enjoys hand and foot massages, having her hair done, and being pampered and nurtured. And at 95, this is the life Mom deserves.
Barrett Betschart is the owner of ElderCaring, an in-home care agency and can be reached at (760) 564-9800.