Caregiving tip: Change isn’t easy for seniors

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the saying, “She is set in her ways.” This tends to become more true as one ages. Our elderly loved ones have a certain schedule, or a certain way of doing things, and a disruption of that schedule can cause them great stress.

I’m a little like this already and I’m only 40!

But what made this clear to me was spending time with Mom this past week. We still have not figured out what is wrong with her, but we finally were able to see the specialist. He wants to rule out the return of cancer, so he has ordered a colonoscopy (ugh) and an EGD. Mom wasn’t thrilled with the idea of more testing and the preparation involved for it but knows it is necessary.

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If there is no cancer, her abdomen muscles can be surgically repaired so her stomach doesn’t protrude, which seems to cause her constant discomfort. But first, we have to increase Mom’s weight and strength. She is down to 100 pounds (has lost a shocking 30 pounds in 8 months.)

The specialist is a young guy that is into natural supplements in addition to medicine. While I truly embrace this approach, when he recommend my 77-year-old Mom start juicing, I had to force myself not to laugh. While I don’t doubt the benefits of fresh juice (though I do think the benefits are overstated and the high sugar and low fiber in juice is a concern), the doctor clearly needs to consider a patient’s age and situation when making care recommendations.

He knows Mom lives alone, and to ask a frail old lady to go buy a bunch of produce, wash it and process it through a juicer, and then go through the tedious clean up progress is totally overwhelming. I purchased her some pricey but convenient organic juice mixes instead.

The doctor also recommended spirulina supplements. After researching I’m on the fence about the benefits, but at least this is an easy step for Mom to take (comes in capsule form.)

He also recommended upping her daily Ensure drinks. I found a Boost very high calorie variety that has 530 calories. Also I got her a flavorlees calorie supplement that you mix into food. These are small steps that Mom can handle on her own.

Still, when I called her after returning home, she was overwhelmed by the new medications ordered by the doctor and the supplements I had sent. She said she knows everyone is trying to help her, but it is a lot to process.

And so it is. Just something to keep in mind when we introduce change to our loved one’s routine. Try to make it as simple and smooth as possible, and take time to explain why the change has to occur. Change can be hard for anyone, but as caregivers we can try to soften the blow.

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5 Comments

Filed under Memories

5 responses to “Caregiving tip: Change isn’t easy for seniors

  1. I agree. Mom was always overwhelmed when she was told to make more than one appointment at a time. I didn’t realize why until I started to experience the same thing myself. We all want time to enjoy our lives in between all those medical appointments. I hope everything works out well for your mother.

  2. Changes are difficult on Seniors. Moving them to a new location was really hard. Seems like there are so many losses for them.

  3. I don’t like it when doctors give ME a bunch of regiments, let alone an elderly, not-well parent. Sometimes, I wonder how much of a benefit all those regiments really provide.

    Speaking of which, as you know, I’m moving back home nearer to my sick mom. The problem is, we can’t afford to live in her neighborhood. We’ll likely have to move 30 to 50 miles away (we live 1,200 miles away now). She is needing more and more supervision lately. We aren’t even there yet, and this is causing a bone of contention. Her house is too small for us to move in with her, and she doesn’t want to move farther away because she has all her doctors there, not to mention friends that keep her busy. Wish us luck as we work through this issue. Good luck with your mom’s new regiments.

    • Agree on the regimen issue! Sounds like the move is coming at the right time, in regards to your mom’s health. My mom needs more help now too, and she is also 1,200 miles away from me. Hope it all works out for the best!

  4. Reblogged this on Cape Coral Home Health Care. and commented:
    As hard as it is for caring, it is equally hard to be taken care of.

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