Apologies for the length of this post but I wondered what tips you think might help those providing care for their elderly relatives.
The 3 tips I have are:
1. Whiteboards. In his final years my father could barely hear even with hearing aids and his macular degeneration meant that he was unable to lip read in his last year. He could hear up to a point if I spoke loudly and clearly but the concentration wore him out. Using a whiteboard with a pen that rubbed out meant we could communicate successfully right to the end. What we found worked was to write in large print as briefly as possible: TEA? GET UP? PAIN TABLETS? MUSIC? etc. And though it took time to do, I was also able to write in longhand about more serious issues so that he was able to be in control of his situation. Few NHS professionals took the trouble to speak to him once he failed to accurately respond to their questions (he would often guess at what he thought they might have said). I ended up interpreting but they assumed dementia due to his age which I found very frustrating as for the most part he was perfectly coherent, keeping his sense of humour to the end.
2. Confronting negative chit chat. With my first elderly relative I would try to soak up all her negativity to help her unburden before cheering her up during the rest of the visit. She never changed for 10 years and in the end it affected my health. When I began supporting my father he began a similar pattern of talking about everything negative in the news, no matter if I had taken him somewhere lovely for the day. When I tackled him he was seriously put out at first but began to realise what he was doing as I continued to point this out to him. Eventually he began to alter his attitude. Doing this early on in our care partnership benefited us both.
3. To realise that some negative traits are nothing to do with your elderly persons personality or attitude towards you, but are due to ageing/deterioration in parts of the brain which can't be helped. Realising this meant I was not personally distressed by the brief anger or frustration he expressed due to the impatience he felt at times and I was able to maintain the respect I had for him despite this. Towards the end rather than go around in exhausting/frustrating circular discussions trying to win him round particularly on minor issues, I was instead able to step back and just accept his viewpoint and work around this. I also came across some videos by Teepa Snow who I thought seemed to have some sensible advice though I don't know how well qualified she is to advise; the internet being what it is.
thorns2roses Tue 11-Jan-22 22:09:14
Hithere Wed 12-Jan-22 01:44:37
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