Do mom and dad really need to go into a “home”?

You probably hadn’t been thinking about putting mom or dad into a care home for years. You ’ve just gotten to a point where it was harder than you thought and you didn’t have the time, the skills or maybe the heart. You weren’t designed to be that caregiver. You needed that help and you know they did too. In your heart, you know it’s the right thing, but you’re wondering “are they getting what they really need?” When it comes to a home, it’s not just their physical need, it’s their emotional needs, their spiritual need.

What kind of social interaction will they have?

Who will they be hanging out with? You and I are a product of the five people we hang out with the most. We all kind of get rubbed off on each other. So who are they hanging out with? Are they hanging around with crabby people? Are they hanging around with people that encourage them?

Now let’s get frank. A lot of these older people have gotten to the point where they’re not that social anymore. Why aren’t they more social? What are they doing to be social? Sitting and watching TV isn’t very social for you or me. It’s certainly isn’t for them either.  But maybe there are games that can be played, puzzles that can be put together, or playing cards. Maybe it’s artwork or crafts. Maybe it’s dancing. When was the last time you saw your parents dance? I guarantee you when they were younger they did a lot of dancing. They even had some really cool dances in their day that they did.

What can you do to help them be more social in their new home?

Maybe just start by going to visit next time and bring some music that would have been from the era when they were teens and in their twenties. Maybe look up what a rave is because you and I know what a rave is, but they wouldn’t know. Ask them did they ever go to a “speakeasy” or did they go to an after-hours club? Some of the stories that will come out will start to tickle their imagination and bring life into their eyes and into their conversation.

I guarantee if you do this one right here, this will really blow you away. Just sit and talk. Ask them, “where did you travel? Where did you meet your spouse? Tell me about your kids.” The stories that you will hear from those seniors are inspirational. You may even learn things about those seniors that their kids probably don’t even know. They didn’t take the time to ask those questions. The missions they took, the paintings they did, the people they met with, the people they danced with.

So what are the stories, how can you help now, and what can you do for them? If you start thinking about those things differently, my goodness, you may just find that your parent is in the home you always dreamed of.

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