How do you help to maintain your parents dignity when they are placed in a "Retirement Home"?
Visit them and join them when there are special events that they show an interest in, and listen to them when you are with them. You are the link to the world outside, don't avoid going there.
I am not in this position and probably never will be but if I was I would visit them on a regular basis, ask them if they need me to bring them anything on the visits (their favorite lotion, magazine, books, card games, crossword puzzles), and most importantly ask their opinion on any given subject.
Not talk down to them like they were not useful anymore, respect them like they can still contribute every day in an intelligent manner. I would do and say things to make them feel like they are still useful, intelligent people, and encourage them to pursue any interests or hobbies they may still have in life.
Hi Lou, This is a very difficult question for me specially at this time. My dear Father has been dead for years and basically I'm an only child from a small family. We left Canada and over the years lost contact and closeness with any extended family. Really it's just my 18 year old daughter, my husband, my Mom and me that make up my family now. Years ago I promised my Mom that I would never put her in a "home" and "no matter what" I would care for her at home. Ah, the foolishness of youth. I was so much younger then and thought I could do it all. Well, I'm so much older now and we just had an awful episode in a string of awful episodes. I found my Mom on the bathroom floor, basically incoherent. We rush her to the hospital and after a plethra of tests it turns out she has a 85% blockackage in her Carotid Artery. We have scheduled a procedure for Tuesday, but as we all know in life, there are no guarantess and Stroke is a possibility. Quick sideline: I am in no, way, shape or form cut out to be a medical person. I gag at smells and freak out at any kind of grossness. Now what? It's $6000.00 a month for a decent home and $12,000 a month for in-home help. CRAP! Add to that my vow to never put her in "one of those places" and I'm fracked! I need answers, too fellow Hubbites. In my opinion there is little dignity in those places. There are Assissted Living situatuions where your parent(s) have their own apartment, social events, choice of having meals as a group, having them prepared and delivered or doing their own cooking, outings and the like, depending on their abilities. Even that option gets a big fat NEVER when presented to my Mom. Medical Science is amazing, but living longer because of it is a curse. Sorry for the long precurser to your question, but I think finding a place that provides the most freedom and atmosphere of community is the best of the worst, but that all depends on your parents abilities and health. As far as dignity, if you make it a fun adventure, they will find joy in the process. Also, give them the choice by finding as many different options as possible. I think most importantly, love them so they know it and visit as much as possible. Make it a change of residence, not a change of relationship or family. My heart truly goes out to you and I get the fear that they will feel 'less than' and 'useless', they aren't and they need to know it. All the best, Lou.
Dear P.J., I too made up my mind years ago that I would take care of my folks when the time comes. Like you, life isn't always fair and has made it impossible to do that. I am also several states away that makes it even more difficult. Thanks...
Hang in there,Lou. I feel your pain and solace in knowing I have someone out there that get's it. I wish I had the answers for us both. For now, I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Know, with out doubt, I care. PJ
You can visit them as often as you can and bring them things for their day.
You could make sure they know how to play games on an iPad (it is not hard if you are patient with them). You can play those interactive games with them, even when you aren't with them. My mother isn't in a home but she is a very long way away, in my brother's annex flat for her. We play scrabble a few times a day. And we drop each other notes on the game.
On the iPad there are apps for drawing and for music and anything else they want to do!
It's important to maintain contact every single day, in a way you find is possible. honestly the iPad is amazing for this. There's Facetime!!!
All the best.
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