We desire the right health care for our loved ones, but is it possible that on occasion, less is best? Based upon a recent report published in Plos One by Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery and health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a full 21% of medical care we receive is unneeded – meaning that millions of individuals subjected to various treatment plans, screenings and scans are getting little if any benefit. And these kinds of unwarranted health services come at a cost: up to $210 billion each year, as reported by the National Academy of Medicine. Read more
Nowadays, everyone is talking about bullying and how to stop it. When we were children, bullies were everywhere and seemed to get away with everything; but we’re a zero-tolerance society now when it comes to bullying. However perhaps there’s some other, less apparent sort of bullying still occurring – that of trying to play the parent to our aging parents, thus overstepping some unwritten boundaries; in some cases, to the point of senior bullying. After all, even if our parents’ choices are different than ours, their choices should still be respected as much as is possible, with safety in mind.
Sometimes it can be hard to know where the line in the sand is between being a helpful care provider for parents and taking over for them in areas they can safely manage on their own. And added into the mix are often unresolved issues from childhood that can resurface – feelings of resentment and bitterness that may find their way into an adult’s caretaking decisions.
To illustrate, there are various areas of contention that often arise between senior parents and their grown children:
- Medical related decision making
- Planning for end of life
- Recommended safety modifications
- Knowing when to stop driving
- Managing finances
These tips can help diffuse sticky decision-making situations more respectfully and effectively:
- Try negotiating a safer alternative for a worry like driving, such as driving only in the daylight and only on short, local trips.
- Start with small suggestions that may be more tolerable to seniors, such as adding no-slip strips to the bathtub, moving cords away from walkways or taping down rugs.
- Try not to compromise safety, while also keeping a senior’s wishes in mind. Ask for the senior’s input without speaking down to him or her, and you’re more likely to work together for a successful outcome.
- Put yourself in the older adult’s shoes. Consider what it would be like to be in a similar situation and how you would want to be treated if the tables were turned.
- However, if there are safety or health concerns, do not hesitate to contact the senior’s physician or a social worker.
And keep in mind that typically, serious discussions such as these are often better received in the presence of a trusted healthcare professional or religious clergy member or through an objective third party. Want more tips to help make tough discussions with older adults go more smoothly, and avoid the possibility of senior bullying? Contact Endeavor Home Care’s Scottsdale home care experts at 480-535-6800 for trusted, professional assistance in keeping your older loved ones safe, while allowing them to remain as independent as possible where they’re most comfortable – at home.
Sweetie, honey, dear – terms of endearment such as these may be appreciated when uttered by our spouse or when directed to our very young children, but how do senior citizens react to them? In a word, many are downright offended. And while health care professionals, restaurant staff, hair stylists and others may have the very best of intentions when attaching these labels to older adults, the underlying message is one of helplessness, frailty, and inferiority.
And just as irritating, or perhaps even more so, is speaking over senior citizens to address their family members instead, as if the seniors are unable to communicate competently.
There’s also a tendency – and again, it’s usually well meaning – to step in and take over tasks for the elderly, without realizing they are often more than capable of doing things for themselves. Seeing an older person maneuvering with a cane or walker, for example, often results in someone kindly offering assistance. However, according to Judy Jellison Graves, a cancer and polio survivor, “It’s annoying when people feel like I need help with something I have no problem doing myself.”
Coined “elderspeak” or “ageism ”, this type of behavior is even considered a form of bullying by Dr. Vicki Rosebrook, Executive Director of the Macklin Intergenerational Institute. “It’s talking down to them. We do it to children so well. And it’s natural for the sandwich generation, since they address children that way.”
Improving our view of the elderly is a national need, starting with the impressions we impart to the next generation. A recent study points to a highly negative reaction to growing older by children from preschool through grade school, who concluded that becoming elderly would be “awful.”
The lesson to be learned for all of us who interact with senior citizens? Replace coddling and stereotypes with simple, genuine respect. Endeavor Home Care is taking strides each day towards this end, by providing respectful senior care to enhance independence and quality of life, with a focus on always maintaining their dignity and individuality.
Our services always begin with the creation of a personalized care plan, taking into consideration each person’s needs, desires and interests, and that plan is modified ongoing as needs change. Contact us at (480) 535-6800 if you’d like to explore a partnership with us to help your senior loved one in Arizona.
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