Up to this point, my family’s support for my Mom has been the “rah rah cheerleader- how can I or we help you” kind of effort. Reality is starting to kick in. We all sense that a transition is starting. One where we go from helping with the gardening, minor home repairs and offering verbal support to actively seeking assistance from third parties.
Parts of this process are scary. How do you find someone to trust to come into your parent’s home to perform certain tasks and not take advantage of your parent(s) or the situation? All of the articles regarding exploitation of the elderly that I have read and shared with my brothers and sisters over recent years are now serving as a background as we start identifying individuals and services to address my mother’s needs. We try not to become paranoid about this but we will be super vigilant and pragmatic.
Where to start and what resources are available are two of our beginning points. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the Instrumental Activities for Daily Living are coming into play. You will recall that these activities include using the telephone, doing light or heavy housework, preparing meals shopping for groceries or personal items and managing money.
My mother gave up her land line many years ago and replaced it with a flip phone. She still has the flip phone and has refused several attempts to move to a smart phone. These attempts have included going to her service provider, picking out and activating a new smart phone, taking it home and then returning it a week later only to reactivate her old flip phone. She is starting to have trouble with the flip phone for a variety of reasons (small screen, small buttons and not easy to use when compared with a smart phone). We will continue to seek out a device and service provider that will satisfy her needs and be easy to adapt to.
Preparing meals is becoming more difficult because my mother has trouble opening up the containers whether they be boxes cans or bottles. Her kitchen is now stocked with a selection of pliers, screwdrivers and “opening devices’ that all work to varying degrees of success. She no longer cooks for herself but relies on a blender. This is due to her polymyositis that makes swallowing a bit of a chore. Fruit and vegetable smoothies are her main source of nutrition. Shopping for groceries and personal items is also becoming a concern. My mother’s mobility and driving skills are slipping. Pardon the pun. The retails stores in her area have not yet fully adopted a service where you can call or email in a list of items and then go by the store and have them delivered to the car. One of our frequently asked questions when we visit is “what do you need that we can go and get for you?”
All of this being stated, my brothers and sisters are now on the hunt for a directory of elder or older adult services for the area where my mother lives. Such a resource would help us identify services that my mother needs to be able to live independently. I started my search by contacting the local Area Agency for Aging and Disability (AAAD).
Each state in the nation is divided into regions with an AAAD dedicated for that particular area. The AAAD can serve as a starting point for your aging related questions and resources. By googling the AAAD for my mother’s area, I came up with that regions AAAD although named differently. I have contacted them to learn if a comprehensive Directory for Senior/Elder services exists and how I might obtain a copy. I will keep you informed with my results.
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