Getting Help from Other Caregivers
Assisted Living Facilities continued...
If someone is treating your parent in a way that you think is wrong or which you don't understand, ask questions before you accuse.
"I went crazy when I heard Patsy, who takes care of Mom, yelling at her at the top of her lungs as I walked in the room. But when I pulled the curtain, Mom was sitting there smiling up at Patsy as she struggled to get her hearing aid on!"
One gift at a time is better than a barrage of presents. Be mindful of the limited space your loved one has available.
Think about how you will structure your visit before you go. If two activities are planned, make sure you have time for each. Have a backup plan or two and go armed with plenty of flexibility.
Try not to show your disappointment if your parent prefers to rest quietly instead of going on the elaborate picnic you planned.
Keep your loved one aware of the passage of time. Mark off the days on a calendar as they pass, and decorate the room as various holidays approach.
Make Grandma's room (or her half of the room) as homey as possible. If all of her favorite things just won't fit, bring in a few and then replace them with others as the seasons change. Seeing missed objects will be like seeing old friends.
Send mail often, even if you visit in person. Older adults love to get mail, especially if they get to read it in front of their friends and share any good news.
If your parent is placed in an activity group that you think is inappropriate, give it some time before you intervene.
"Mom in a volleyball group? This is a woman who hated sports with a passion. As it turns out, their version of 'volleyball' involves throwing a ball around from one person to another, and she doesn't seem to mind it at all. In fact, she enjoys the company and even boasts about her new involvement in 'sports.'"
Each time you visit, (surreptitiously) check Mom's skin for irritations that may lead to bedsores. Massages are not only a good way to prevent bedsores, but they also provide some great shared moments of intimacy.
Be your father's advocate. Let him know that you are there to fight for him at times when he can't fight for himself. Make sure he knows that you will always defend him and that you are always going to be there for him.
Get to know every member of the staff, and address them by their names. Let them know who you are. Before you address anyone on the staff, introduce yourself, even if you think they should know your name by now.