Aging and Long-Term Care Issues   Olympic Area Agency on Aging

Senior Information & Assistance

Stress. Most of us know the word. And most of us experience it in some form or another on a regular basis. Some of us live on the edge of stress's waters, only occasionally wading - and some of us have become absolutely aquatic! Stress seems to have become our natural environment.

I have in my office, beside my desk, a miniature zen garden, a gift from one of my kids. On the box, it reads: "Soothe the Spirit with Sand and Stone." I've poured the sand, placed the stones, raked a few patterns and set my little rakes aside, awaiting the next round of relaxation. Unfortunately, I have rarely found the time to "soothe my spirit with sand and stone" and ironically, this at times creates mini-stress. Stressing about de-stressing - sounds kind of circular. However, many of the folks in our community live there, in a revolving-stress lifestyle that slowly erodes health and independence. And I'm speaking here of both those needing physical assistance, and those who are providing the assistance.

So - back to basics. Dad is in trouble. If he falls, he can't get himself back to his feet, and he's apprehensive about bathing without someone there. Getting in and out of the chair is becoming more difficult, let alone getting out of the house. And, it seems, schedules and routines are slipping away from him - sometimes, he can't remember if he's taken his pills or not. He knows he needs help, and the family cavalry has come to the rescue. Problem is, they all live elsewhere and can only be temporary help. Many families who find themselves in this scenario start by rotating schedules to assure someone is with Dad, or by discussing if anyone has the ability to move in with Dad. In many cases, this does not work for long. The stress load is growing. Dad is concerned about causing stress for his family and the family is stressed about Dad's care - and it doesn't just go away. At this point (and before, during and after!) the family needs information. Where to start?

Give us a call. Resources for Dad could include a personal monitor device (push button emergency response) to contact help if he falls. In-home care is available regardless of whether Dad is Medicaid eligible or not. (Private pay versus state paid). A family member (not a spouse, though) or a friend may be entitled to a paid caregiver if Dad is Medicaid eligible. Caregivers would be able to assist Dad with getting about; bathing; reminding him of scheduled appointments (and arrange transportation); reminding him of his medicines and so on.

We've received several requests lately for the How to Hire In-Home Help booklet, available for the asking. We can also connect you with other agencies that could provide various support services. The point is Dad can stay home, family can be assured that he is being cared for, and the revolving door of stress can stop spinning. As for me, I'm going to try to grab my little rake and design some sand.

Senior Information & Assistance

Ilwaco: 642-3634/(888) 571-6558

Raymond: 942-2177/(888) 571-6557

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