Sometimes you stumble upon an offering which truly makes your life easier. I want to share one with you, especially as the story has a positive outcome.
My mom’s dementia causes her to feel afraid to venture far from home. I’ve spoken about her in a previous post: http://www.itsallaboutaging.com/blog/?p=230
In an effort to keep her mind stimulated and her body active, I had been researching services online which provide options for caregiving on a basic level to seniors. My interest was to find a local woman whom I could meet and interview, who would understand my mom’s situation and act as a companion to my mother in my absence.
http://www.craigslist.org/ did not feel trustworthy as a source and a call into the local chapter of http://www.alz.org/ wasn’t returned. Thankfully my sister located a site that provided us with the ease and comfort we were looking for in locating assistance: http://www.care.com.
Care.com provides a place for families and providers to easily connect, share caregiving stories, and get advice. The service enabled us to find and select an individual who had experience and references. My ultimate hope was that my mother would look forward to seeing this woman on a daily basis and a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship will flourish.
We quickly scheduled a date with a woman, “Lisa”, who looked friendly in her online profile, to meet with me, my sister and my mom.
Prior to the visit, Lisa asked us a few questions which I found to be worthwhile, such as:
- Please let me know qualities about your mom which might be helpful to me in getting to know her.
- What nutritional needs does she have?
- What type of music does she enjoy?
- Are there any subjects which I should steer clear of?
- Does she have a list of medications for which I need to be mindful?
- What is your mom’s favorite movie?
- Does she have any trouble sleeping?
- Are there books she tends to read?
- What makes her laugh?
Lisa believed that most of the answers would flow from our interview together but she took the time to be thoughtful about gathering information beforehand. She gave me the feeling that she was interested to get to know the “woman”, (my mother), well beyond the “job”.
After a thorough in-person screening, we felt connected with her as she developed rapport with my mom and showed an understanding of the situation. Lisa also addressed my mom directly during the meeting.
I decided to hire her because her approach reminded me of the motto I had embraced while volunteering for http://www.littlebrothers.org which stated, “Flowers Before Bread”. Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly as an organization strongly believes that aging adults deserve the special pleasures in life along with the basic necessities. I agree that love and dignity and beauty in life are as basic as physical needs. I wanted for my mom’s caregiver to feel that way too.
We set up the arrangement as a trial basis for 1 month so that both parties could see if it was working. Since we started, it has been a learn-as-you-go experience. Thankfully, my mom has expressed gratitude for the shared lunches that they’ve had, along with the walks in the park. Just as you’d court a partner for life, so are we getting to know our new caregiver. One day at a time.
Ann Mehl, Certified Life and Career Coach, http://www.annmehl.com