Among the many changes that old age brings upon us, the inability of our autonomic nervous system to adjust to changing physical conditions is one of the most troublesome and for younger family members, difficult to understand. Many family members confuse a senior’s slow walk, or inability to negotiate stairs, thresholds and dogs lying on the floor as a lack of balance, failing vision or weakness. While often this is true, just as often it is simply that the lightning fast automatic little adjustments that get made by hip flexors, leg muscles and back muscles on signals from the brain that coordinate inputs from ears, eyes, and pressure sensors in the skin simply do not respond as quickly as they used to. The younger person, lacking understanding to support patience, rushes in to “help” when what they might better choose to do is simply stand and wait.
This is one of the reasons why many seniors prefer not to live with their younger relatives. To them the intrusion of being helped, when all they really need is extra time, is a reminder of their own failing, not just a reminder of the love of those trying to help. Loss of control is a significant concern of the elderly. Having control of their own locomotion taken away by well meaning, but untrained caregivers, can be a significant source of frustration.
If you are going to care for a senior in your home, do not assume that caring is enough. Take classes, join groups, compare experiences and learn. Parenting a child and caring for a parent share only a few factors. Parenting a child is something every older person can pass down to a younger person. But caring for an elderly loved one is a skill that must be learned. Knowledge is the key to the experience being a good one for all.
This article is written by an attorney at Wyatt & Mirabella, PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today for a free consultation, please click here to contact us.