Some Valuable Life Lessons

We had brunch this past weekend with a close friend who lives in Hong Kong. She taught us a valuable lesson. Asian culture views and treats older adults as “besties.” They are revered and treated with respect and care. My own experience and daily prompts from my 92-year-old mom taught me two lessons I want to share that help our parents and loved ones being cared for feel like “besties”: 1. Every human being on earth wants to feel like they have some control over their lives, no matter how little. It is the lack of that which is most vexing to care recipients. Asking can replace a request, and it will allow our “besties” to feel in control. If your care recipient refuses, try gently agreeing with them and ask them to let you know when they will be ready for help. I practice this with my mom who has Alzheimer’s, and it does wonders. In a more extreme case, if I ask her to take a new medication in pill form, she always refuses, so we crush the medicine and add it to her ice cream. It avoids an issue that has no other peaceful resolution. It also allows her to feel better during the day as we move on to more enjoyable topics. 2. Old people do not like to be treated as children. The more you can make caregiving a gentle and loving adult-to-adult action, the better relationship you will both have. For example, my mom is not interested in coloring books. She considers it childish, and she is not a child. Instead, as we do quizzes and easy crossword puzzles which enables her to feel pride in accomplishment. Finding an activity that your care recipient can relate to as an adult is helpful and appreciated. Thank you for your participation. Your comments and practical hints are welcome and wanted. As a group, we have the knowledge… now we have to use it to both the caregiver and the care recipient’s advantage. It will significantly reduce stress for everyone. Warm regards from all of us at Caregiving Network!

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