Caring for the Elderly: How is Grandpa’s Ego?

As we live longer in modern times, the middle generations the ones that have kids of their own and living parents, are sometimes faced with a life changing situation. One of the elders has passed away and the other one, sometimes after many years of living together, is suddenly facing life on his own.

It seems the problem is greater for men than women. Men, who have been used to be taken care off, have to start doing it for themselves and the kids and grandkids are called to help.

It’s not easy to care for the elderly with our hectic life. Most of us have to work to make ends meet. We have parental duties, as well and a homes to care for. Adding another responsibility seems impossible.

So the kids and grandkids bicker who will take care of the elder and how. There are complaints, arguments and misunderstandings, sometimes within earshot of the grandpa that is suddenly treated as one who can’t do anything for himself and is a burden to all.

We forget, sometimes painfully so, that our elders were once young as us, with full lives, careers, families, clubs and hobbies. They are the ones who helped their kids start their way in life. They should not be a burden. They’ve earned it through long years of living.

The main question you should ask yourself and your siblings is ‘How Grandpa’s ego is doing? It tough enough to get old, not being able to do the things you used to do, not being able to read without glasses or hear the whispers. It’s tough to face illnesses that come with age, body changes, and wrinkles. Now they have to face all that alone, and that might be a very depressing thought. Their mental state is the key to their physical well-being.

Old people get depressed. You might say with a good reason, but when the depression affects their quality of life, help should be obtained. More and more elderly people are receiving treatment against anxiety and depression in the form of pills. Before your grandpa reaches this stage, there are a few things you can do.

● Cherish the old timers. They have so much to give. They have lived through a lot and saw things that bugle the imagination. Listen to their stories, you might learn something.

● Include them in your family activities. There is nothing more important (or irritating) as an extended family. With all the bickering there is still a family there. Think how proud the elder feels, when he/she look at the many people they have helped create.

● Exclude them from family discussions regarding their care. They are old, not stupid. Conversations that are carried on in the car or on the phone can tell a person a lot about what is not being said.

● Include the old timer in conversations about his situation and what he would like to be done.

● Find a companion for the elderly. Something they can look forward to. A pet is a great companion for those who like animals. Not having a reason to get out of bed leads to a very fast and sometimes irreversible deterioration.

Joyce Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading providers of massage courses and personal training courses. When not working, Joyce blogs about health and fitness.


photo credit: scott.roeder via photo pin cc

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