Slowing Down, But NOT Out!!

I have several friends whose parents are now well into their 80’s. Until very recently they have been alert, active, involved and very healthy. Some people can keep on running in high gear for much longer. But some start to feel the effects of time once they hit their mid 80’s.

When these very active, social people begin to experience pain and limitations on activities, sometimes it can have a domino effect. One of my friend’s Mom’s has been in this situation. Her Mom was used to attending local dances at the community center several times a week. She began experiencing severe hip pain, and although she was still intent on going to her dances, the pain became so bad that she was unable to sleep.

Because she wasn’t getting enough rest, her immune system was compromised and she came down with a terrible chest cold. At that point she could no longer go to the dances at all. She started to become depressed and it was alarming my friend. She didn’t know what to do. When she called me, we decided to get together and try to come up with ideas for her Mom.

This is what we decided. Once her cold was better, we took her to her Primary Care Physician, he sent her get some x-rays and that is when they discovered her hip pain was the result of severe osteo arthritis in her left hip joint. With x-rays in hand, he referred her to a good pain management physician, who gave her a series of shots, and her hip began to feel better. She was still a little worried about dancing. We told her, go to the dances, sit and listen to the music that gives you so much joy. See your friends and dance, but don’t dance every single number. Pick just your favorite ones, dance, then sit and rest for a bit.

She has been following this advice and she is happy again. Yes, it is frustrating for her not to be able to dance with abandon, but it is less frustrating than being stuck in the house, not seeing her friends and feeling sad. Sometimes it is better to have part of something than to have nothing at all.

So she dances, she laughs and she lives the fullest life that her body will allow!! And best of all she is happy again.

Aileen Brazeau

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Seniors: Dealing with Isolation and Loneliness

 

Seniors Living at Home

As our parents and family members age they start to lose some of the things that we all take for granted. No matter how healthy they are, some of their functions will be impaired. For the majority of people 75 and older, there will be issues of mobility impairment.

In many cases, the sense of smell and eyesight will diminish. Taking medication can become a major issue because of forgetfulness, and over medicating is even more worrisome. All these issues and more are things that must be addressed with our loved ones and that is where it gets difficult. How do you tell the people who took care of you and raised you that you know better than they what is now good for them? I think the hardest one is telling someone they can no longer drive.

There are numerous blogs and print articles that can help you figure out the best way to talk to your seniors about such things. And sometimes you will simply be put in a position where you are not going to be able to keep them happy in the near term, but you must do what is best for them before something happens that everyone will regret.

Beyond these issues is one of the most difficult to deal with, and it is not strictly a medical issue. It is the issue of loneliness and isolation. There is nothing that will cause a decline in mental and physical health in a senior faster than these. As we age, people move away to get closer to their respective families, or get moved to skilled nursing facilities, and their social group gets smaller and smaller. If your senior insists upon staying in their home, and you can not physically get over to see and spend time with them several times a week, see if you can have the local senior center pick them up for social functions.

Call an in-home care company; even if you are on a limited budget there are ways to help with the cost. That will ensure that your senior family member is at least getting good meals and the proper dose of medication a few times a week, or every day if you can manage it. And it gives them some time with a person they can connect to.

Here at San Clemente Villas, we work hard to make certain that we have a wide variety of activities available to our seniors. We have dances, art classes, exercise classes, educational seminars, cook outs and fundraisers at regular intervals. We also encourage family visits. There is NO substitute for a hug from a Grandchild or Great-grandchild. I know we get busy in our lives and it’s hard to take time out, but schedule that time, just like you would for your child’s soccer practice. These are the people who loved and supported you, you will want to reciprocate. It doesn’t have to be for a whole day, or even any more than an hour per visit, in fact more short visits can be better than a prolonged visit that may tire your senior out too much. Phone calls are good too.

Just remember one of the golden rules: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, treat your seniors the way you would want people to treat you and all will be good…

Aileen Brazeau

 

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