Here is a short story about a client who thought they didn’t need help.
Joy (not her real name) is in her late eighties and lives alone. She is a friendly, optimistic, and independent woman with an active social life. Her daughter felt she needed additional help around her home due to her age and body breaking down, but Joy did not or would not recognize this need.
No matter our age, many of us refuse to accept that we need help with anything. Does that sound familiar to you? Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, asking for help seems to be an extremely big hurdle for many of us to get over. However, Joy was fortunate enough to have a loving and patient daughter who could encourage her to get the additional assistance she needed.
So, Joy extended the hours from three to five hours once a week. First, we tidied up her home, did a light vacuuming and helped her prepare dinner for guests each week. Then Joy slowly accepted and eventually felt comfortable with the additional help.
When I visited Joy to update her care plan, she informed me of her many health issues, which you would never know by looking at her as she always has a smile on her face. I was astounded as she told me about her health challenges that started from her shoulders down to her feet, yet she was still sure she did not need further help.
After some time, Joy’s daughter called and asked to extend our service from one day to three days a week. When I spoke with Joy, she stated, ‘my daughter feels I need more help, but I don’t know what for.’ It was evident to those around Joy that she did need more help.
So, we did her laundry and put it away, light dusting and vacuuming, helped with meal preparation, cleaned the kitchen after cooking, took her to doctor appointments, changed and cleaned her bedding, gave her a foot bath, massaged her shoulders, and spent time chatting with her.
Once Joy saw all that we could or would do, she opened up to accepting more help with her cooking as she loved to cook, but her body would no longer allow her to stand for long periods of time.
When I inquired about the compatibility of our PSW, Joy stated, ‘I love her and thoroughly enjoy her companionship and never want to lose her.’ Our PSW says the feeling is mutual.
As a family member, we encourage you to be patient and empathetic towards your loved ones, try to put yourself in their shoes. Look at what they need help with and explain how having someone they like to “assist” them with their daily tasks will help make their lives more enjoyable and less stressful. Plus, they can gain a companion if they so choose.
If seniors’ lifestyles continue without help, their health and well-being will slowly decline as well as their will to live. Unfortunately, this is a common and serious situation for many seniors, which is why we are here to offer our services.