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#99519 - Thu Nov 16 2000 02:55 PM Check in on the elderly
JoJo2 Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
My uncle (Michael Faraci) was found dead in his house in Boston. He had been deceased for three days before anyone found him. I hadn't seen my uncle in years and wasn't very close to him so this thread is not about me and my loss but to give you a very sad example of what can happen to an elderly person who lives alone. If you know of an elderly person who lives alone, give them a call and maybe offer to pick up their prescription or anything else that they might need. If nothing else, call just to say hello, it will warm their heart to know that you are thinking of them.

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#99520 - Thu Nov 16 2000 07:24 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
Anonymous
No longer registered


What a shame about your uncle, JoJo, sorry to hear about that. It does not surprise me though, with the way so many people in this country ignore our elderly. In this country, it seems, we (yes, I have been guilty of it myself), do not hold the elderly in as high regard as we should.It just seems in other countries, they honor their elders more. We don't respect the knowledge of the old, we seem to dis-regard the fact that they have lived interesting, full lives. I myself, enjoy conversations with older people and relish the interesting stories that they tell. I have always said that in this country, they seem to be a burden to society, fixed incomes, (let a senator live on what the elderly receive), and a whopping 10per cent discount on some items, just doesn't cut it. I believe, as I get older myself, that my ways have changed to some degree. I really never ignored the elderly (I worked in a nursing home when I was younger), but I find myself taking more time for them and not brushing them off so fast.As I've always said 'They are our heritage, we are their legacy'. Sorry to ramble, but some subjects really get to me. gammab

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#99521 - Thu Nov 16 2000 07:24 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
Astrix Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Wed Jan 05 2000
Posts: 769
Loc: Canada
JoJo.. so sorry to hear of your uncle's passing.

Unfortunately, I think it is a sign of modern society that many people live alone, whereas it used to be more common to have an extended family where someone would always be around to check up on you. We don't even seem to know our neighbours anymore.

My workplace has a set-up where, if an employee who is known to live alone does not come in to work and does not call in sick, they will send someone over to their home to check up on them, just in case something has happened.

Local service groups in my city have a similar set-up. For example, Meals-on-Wheels is a service where someone will come by once a day with a warm cooked meal and a bit of conversation for an hour for shut-ins who don't have family or friends who are able to visit.

I have often heard of elderly people, especially women who are succeptible to osteoporosis, falling and breaking a hip, and then lying helpless for hours or even days until they can get help. I suppose it is a sign of modern society, that we are becoming more isolated.

Thank you, JoJo, for the excellent reminder to keep an eye out for those who live on their own; especially elderly citizens who seem to get forgotten sometimes while we are busy with our everyday rushed lives.


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#99522 - Thu Nov 16 2000 07:39 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
Astrix Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Wed Jan 05 2000
Posts: 769
Loc: Canada
As an after-thought, here is a slavic fable that I know:
(not exactly on topic, but I read gammab's message after posting my first message, and was reminded of this story.)

A village family would gather every evening for supper - grandfather, father, mother, children and sometimes an uncle or cousin would sit down at the table as well. The grandfather was getting quite old and his hands had begun to tremble. A few times he had accidently spilt his soupbowl, and once he even dropped his plate on the floor. What a commotion and mess that caused, the mother scurrying around to clean up the mess, the children giggling silently with a bit of embarrassment.

The next evening, the mother set out the dishes as usual for the supper meal, and at the grandfather's seat, instead of the white china dishes that the rest of the family ate from, she set a wooden bowl. The father explained to the children that the bowl was necessary for the grandfather so that he would not break any more dishes. The grandfather hung his head in embarrassment and quietly ate his meal from the wooden bowl while the rest of the family dined off of the good dishes.

A few days later, the father saw one of his young sons practicing with a piece of wood and his pen-knife. "What are you carving there, my son?" the father asked. "Why, father," the boy replied, "I am carving you a wooden bowl for the day that you are no longer worthy enough to eat from the good dishes."

Moral: You set the example - the way you treat your elders is the way your own children will treat you one day.


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#99523 - Fri Nov 17 2000 03:00 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
ethel Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Thu Jul 27 2000
Posts: 280
Loc: meredith, n.h.,usa
I so agree with you all! And Astrix, that story was definately food for thought.

It is terrible how we, as a society, have evolved to the point where we devalue our elders. I find it shameful. Maybe it takes certain individuals an experience whereby they learn the hard way that we need to take the time NOW to maintain our relationships with our grandparents or elderly parents. I think that I was one of those people at one time.

I always loved my grandmothers (memeres, as we called them). But they were already old (in their 70's) when I came to be, so I never realized how precious they were. I know I must have taken them for granted.

My dad, who was a physician, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's when he was 57. I was 13. In the early 70's when this occurred, no one knew much about it. Most of my dad's colleagues stayed away - I think they were a little freaked. My mom really was on her own in dealing with him as he became increasingly ill. My older brothers and sister were away from home so there was just me. Being ignorant and a self-centered teen, I was horrified by what was happening to him, and didn't handle it well. I spent loads of time with the family of my best friend (her dad went to school with mine and they were best buds) and not much with my mom or dad. By the time I went to college, he was in a nursing home ( a variety of them because they kept throwing him out of them due to his belligerance) and he died when I was a sophomore (he was 63). It was a blessing, believe me.
I didn't see him nearly as much as I should have. It was heartbreaking for me and that served as an excuse as well as the fact that he had not recognized any of us for a couple of years.

How I regret that I didn't spend more time with him. I have forgiven myself for all of that (counseling helped) but I learned a valuable lesson. We don't all always have a tomorrow. I treasure each and every day with my mother (age 83) and know that when her time comes, I will have no regrets or feelings that "I should have". I try to impart this to my siblings, also. Spend time with these precious people now!

[This message has been edited by ethel (edited 11-17-2000).]


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#99524 - Fri Nov 17 2000 04:30 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
Anonymous
No longer registered


JoJo, I am sorry about the passing away.

For you who need Confirmation service hours, visiting the elderly in nursing homes are a tremendous help to their attitude during the Christmas time. It is the loneliest, darkest, and most depressing time of year. Remember, it does not need to be your great- aunt, nor your grandfather. It could just be a little old lady sitting on a rocker.

Here is a story from Chicken Soup for the Soul. I am not copying this, but I am only reciting it from memory.

There was a man and a woman (husband and wife) going on vacation in Delaware. (Not sure if that is the state- but is on the Eastern seaborder.) They passed a gray nursing home with an elderly lady rocking on a chair on the porch outside. The man drove past, but his wife told him to stop and turn around and go back to the nursing home. Against the husband's wishes, he did.

They got out of the car and walked up to the porch. The woman introduced herself. They conversed for awhile. Then the wife found out that this was the mother of one of her childhood friends. At this point, a nurse came and told the elderly lady that she needed to keep her medicine for her heart kept pounding. efore she went off, she asked the wife to promise her that she would stop on their way back. She also gave her a piece of jewelry which I forget its significance.

A week later, they stopped at the nursing home again. It was thundering and raining, and the lady died the day before. However, the nurses said, she just didn't die . . . she died with a big smile.


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#99525 - Fri Nov 17 2000 05:20 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
Annie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 267
Loc: New York City USA
I have an uncle who is in a nursing home, and I visit him faithfully, three times a week. He's been there for two years now, so I've gotten to know quite a few of the other residents. Most of them don't have regular visits from their families, which I know from the nurses who work there. They always make a big deal out of what a good niece I am, when in reality, I don't think I'm doing anything that anyone else couldn't do, if they really wanted to. As I walk down the hall toward my uncle's room, I stop and chat with as many people as I can, just so they know that somebody still cares about them. I do the same thing on my way out, and most of them ask when I'll be back. (I think some of them think I come to visit them!) They tell me about their families, and I tell them about mine. They've become my extended family, no matter what color skin they have, or what religion they practice. It's amazing what a few kind words and a little attention can do for these people. I'll just never understand why some people choose to ignore a relative, just because they live in a nursing home. Yes, it can be sad, but most of the time it's beneficial to all concerned.

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#99526 - Fri Nov 17 2000 09:31 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
Anonymous
No longer registered


Annie, It IS a special thing that you do. As I mentioned before, I worked in a nursing home when I was younger. It broke my heart to see how little most of the families thought of their elderly, and I do mean most. I worked there for two years, and I can count on two hands the people who were 'regulars' when it came to visiting. One woman even had the gaul to come see her mother ONCE A YEAR at Christmas, and then complain that her mother seemed depressed and it had to be our fault. It has been many years and I can still laugh and get teary eyed thinking of some of those people. Some of the stories are hilarious, but a lot are rather heartbreaking, and some are just very sweet. A lot of them made a deep impression on me, and I hope that through the years I have not been too hard on a lot of the older people I have met. As I said, most of us could do well with a little more kindness, and not just for the elderly, but for all. We may be in their shoes someday. gammab

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#99527 - Sat Nov 18 2000 09:43 AM Re: Check in on the elderly
Annie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 267
Loc: New York City USA
Thank you for your kind words, gammab. I still think it takes very little effort on my part....I'm there anyway, so it's very easy to stop and say a few words to other people as I pass by. I see a few other people who visit on a regular basis, but as you know from your experience working in a nursing home, many of these people don't get visited by anyone. I know we live in a busy world, but even one hour, once a week, can mean so much to these people. I wish more of them would try to set aside a little time each week. Once a year at Christmas isn't enough. I can appreciate what you said, because each holiday season, I see people I've never seen before. Do they think their relatives don't exist the rest of the year?

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#99528 - Sat Dec 16 2000 11:50 AM Re: Check in on the elderly
JoJo2 Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Want to make a difference in an elderly person's life? Wondering how to give back to society? Start by helping your elderly parents first, and then reach out to help others.

Live positively by helping make an elderly person's life better. Remember, many of our elderly can't afford nursing homes or home care services and live from check to check. And within the next ten years, our nation's population will be dealing with more people in retirement than ever before. Get involved with your local community's senior citizen organization or residential home for the elderly. Start a program to adopt a set of grandparents or start a program in your school for youngsters to connect with the elderly. Make an elderly neighbor's holiday extra special by inviting him or her to dinner and other festivities.


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#99529 - Thu Feb 15 2001 10:03 AM Re: Check in on the elderly
JoJo2 Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
FREE BOOKLETS FOR ELDER CARE

Senior citizens and their families trying to hire in-home help find new housing options or care for an older adult can now benefit from a new "Someone Who Cares" series of free brochures. Created by professionals in the field of aging, these three booklets from the Center for Applied Gerontology help guide families through a number of elder care issues. The brochure named "Finding the Best In-Home Care" provides detailed information on when help in the home is needed and step-by-step tips on how to hire a worker. In "Caring for the Caregiver," signs of caregiver distress are outlined along with coping tools. Also listed are the names of national caregiver organizations and Web sites focusing on caregiver concerns. "Housing Options for Seniors" details the different living alternatives available for older adults in Illinois. The booklets were funded by a grant from the Illinois Department on Aging, and can be ordered by calling 773-508-1073 or e-mailing cag@cje.bet.


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#99530 - Sat Apr 21 2001 08:22 AM Re: Check in on the elderly
JoJo2 Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
In 1965, the Older Americans Act was enacted by Congress. It allocated funding for numerous "Area Agencies on Aging" across the United States. They are listed in local phone books. They provide resources for transportation, home-delivered meals, respite care, income tax preparation, medication assistance, flu shots, heating and cooling assistance, homemaker services, housing, legal assistance, where to report suspected neglect or exploitation of elderly persons, and more.

They also help coordinate recreational activities, such as senior games: bowling tournaments, track, basketball free throw, golf, shuffleboard, and more. Senior centers across America provide numerous activities and services for both active and homebound seniors. They will, if asked, also provide daily telephone reassurance calls and/or weekly visits to ensure the safety and well-being of the senior in question.

- Jennifer E. Rabalais, Southwest Tennessee Area Agency On Aging


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#99531 - Sat Apr 21 2001 10:34 AM Re: Check in on the elderly
Anonymous
No longer registered


JoJo, sorry for your loss. This has been a bad year for you so far has'nt it?

About six months ago, we had to put my grandma in an extended care facillity. For those not in the know, an extended care facillity is one step above a nurseing home. The residents are not entirely helpless, but they do need assistance with meals and medications and the like. I go to see her every friday. Unfortunately her short term memory is shot and she never remembers me being there. She always wants to know why I don't see her more often. Its all very depressing to watch someone fall apart like that.


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#99532 - Sat Apr 21 2001 11:10 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
JoJo2 Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Thank you Scibug. Actually it has been about five months since my uncle died. I really didn't know him that well, but it really made me stop and think about how we get so caught up in our lives that we tend to forget to make that one little phone call or visit to a loved one who might need us, not to mention how happy they are to know that we are thinking about them. That "should have" feeling will eat you up with guilt if a similar experience should ever happen to any of you and I sincerely hope that this thread will inspire us to at least pick up the phone every once in awhile to check on an elderly or handicapped friend or loved one.

I admire your love and loyalty towards your grandma. She is extremely lucky to have you in her life. It is very sad to see someone you love start failing in their health and/or memory, but showing them that you love them can only do your heart good and bring joy into their lives. Your story reminds me of the book "Tuesday's with Murray". What a beautiful book that is. May each Friday fill you and your grandma with love and please give her a hug for me if you think about it Scibug. Thank you for sharing.


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#99533 - Sat Apr 21 2001 09:08 PM Re: Check in on the elderly
Anonymous
No longer registered


Thanks JoJo, I'll do that!


You can rock a cradle, but you can't rock a casbah!


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#99534 - Sun Apr 22 2001 01:50 AM Re: Check in on the elderly
JoJo2 Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Fri Nov 19 1999
Posts: 17656
Loc: San Diego California USA 
Thank you for sharing gammab, Astrix, BS, Annie, and Ethel. I just realized that I didn't thank you previously for sharing your stories and your excellent words of wisdom and suggestions.

Like gammab said in her first post in this thread, I too enjoy the company of older people and I always make it a point to smile and say hello to all the elderly people I see when I am out and about. I could sit for hours and listen to their stories about how things used to be and there is so much one can learn about history when you hear it first hand. One can also learn a lot about their family history and it is always such a great compliment to those who you've taken out the time to be there and showing genuine interest and taking part in the journey of their lives.

Thank your for sharing the slavic fable with us Astrix. I got goose bumps all over when I read it.


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