Saturday, August 24, 2013

“Gifts” for the Elderly, Disabled, and Caregivers

       So often people tell those who are elderly, are in the hospital, or are caregivers, “Let me know if I can do anything.”  They then go on their way and back to their lives. Most of those elderly, disabled, and caregivers who are told to let someone know, never do. To help anyone, offer rather than ask or expect the person to ask for help. 

            For example, if a caregiver is with someone in the hospital, ask to take him/her for a meal or take that person a meal. Offer to go to the house and clean the kitchen or living room or bath, or a combination of several rooms so that when the caregiver and/or patient returns home, the house is ready. Visit the patient in the hospital, but visitors should spread visits over a period of time so that the hospital room isn’t over crowed and the patient doesn’t have empty stretches with no visits. Having visits throughout the visiting times also allows a caregiver to go home or run errands without wondering if the patient might be alone for too long a time.

         The elderly or disabled often cannot care for their home or yard. A wonderful gift is to set a time (whether for one time or for a monthly or weekly appointment) to help with housework or with the yard. If several people worked together, two or three hours a week can be scheduled without one person helping more than one time a month. Housework multiples no matter what people are able to do or not do, and any help given can determine whether the elderly or disabled are able to remain in their homes or not. Someone taking the responsibility in cleaning the main rooms of the house can make a big difference in quality of life for the people helped. 

          Perhaps, someone might offer to take out all the trash the day or evening before the trash service comes by. A group of four to five people could divide the month so that each person does trash duty once a month.

          Yard work is the same: Summer or winter chores pile up. Having someone mow the yard once a month, rake leaves and remove them, and shovel snow when needed gives the elderly and disabled a way to stay more independent. Again, a crew of several can spread the work days over a month each month without any one person having to work more than a hour or two a month.

            Many times, the elderly and disabled gave time and help to younger people when they were younger and able. They cared for children so parents could have a break. They gave helping hands to help others move, not just once but over and over. They put their own plans on hold to give to others. Now, why not refrain from asking them to let you know if you can do anything and offer to do something specific? Time and help are the best of gifts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions Vivian. Not just for the elderly, either. Anyone who has a loved one in the hospital for an extended time would appreciate any of those gifts. Been there done that, on both sides of the experience.