Companionship for Elderly Loved Ones

If your loved one seems very resistant to care, then you may be hesitant to even bring up the topic of care with them. However, if their health is declining, and it becomes very apparent that they need care, you have to start the conversation with them. Here are a few tips on how to approach your loved one and talk with them about care.

This delicate stage of the caregiving process poses much more than emotional challenges. Families also face many difficult medical, financial and legal decisions. However, 

documenting your loved one’s wishes for treatment at the end of life and interment after their passing can make this trying time much less confusing and upsetting for you and your family members.

If you and your family member want to live near each other but not in the same house, you can now rent a fully equipped, backyard mini-apartment that attaches to your home’s utilities. Some of these so-called assisted living structures come with monitoring systems.

Bereaved elders may also find it helpful to take part in certain rituals as part of the grieving process. Wakes, funerals, and graveside services are traditional grieving rituals following the death of a loved one. However, there are other ways to grieve. Many people find it helpful to write a letter to the deceased, fill a photo album with pictures of the person, make a donation in honor of the individual or support an organization or project that raises awareness about the disease from which the person died. Another approach that grief counselors sometimes use is to have the person talk to an empty chair as if the deceased person were actually sitting there.

A useful tool for PCPs to screen for complicated grief is the Brief Grief Questionnaire, which consists of five items and requires approximately three minutes to complete. The self-assessed Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG) can also be administered to gauge the severity of complicated grief.

Sometimes an elder’s need for help is sudden and obvious. More often, though, it becomes apparent gradually, experts say. So how will you know? Watch for changes in your loved one’s behavior, such as ignoring favorite hobbies, missing dates with friends, or forgetting to pay bills.