While going on my 31st year providing in home care to the elderly, I never have, nor ever plan to tell anyone of our clients “I understand”. Without walking in their shoes daily and having had to cope with all that they have, how could I? When meeting with prospective clients experiencing feelings of loneliness or depression, they don’t seem to take much comfort either, in people telling them they understand what they are going through.
The information shared here is mainly from my years of experience leading a home health care agency in the Dallas, TX area called Care Mountain. When referring to depression in this article, I am mainly referencing feelings of being depressed, versus major clinical depression. If caring for an elderly parent, then there are certainly the obvious signs of your parent may display of feeling lonely or depressed such as a sad or “empty mood”, loss of interest in hobbies or activities, and feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and/or pessimism.
A common concern I hear from adult children calling me about their elderly parent deals with the frequency in which their parent wants their attention. Their parent has no apparent dementia, but seems to be taking advantage of whatever opportunity he/she can to get and retain their adult child’s attention focused on them. This is one of the most common, yet least obvious, symptoms I encounter suggesting an elderly parent is feeling lonely or depressed.
A main reason for an elderly person feeling lonely or depressed has to do with some type of loss they are struggling to cope with. This loss can be related to their own health, or the health of someone they care deeply about. If the loss is related to their own health, then an experienced Dallas area home health care agency can provide caregivers to help. Experienced caregivers successful in this area know, the best help to provide is that which helps their client to help themselves within healthy limits of safety. Coming in and just doing things for the client, no matter how well intended, just creates dependence, which can add to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that is already a challenge to cope with.
Whether the loss a person is coping with is related to their health, or that of a loved one, having a healthy attitude will play a key role in how well they effectively cope with it. The best home care agencies in the Dallas area know the best method they have to affect a positive attitude in their client is through a good caregiver match. Which means, not just putting any caregiver in with that client. Instead it should be a caregiver highly experienced with providing in home care for lonely or depressed elderly. And it should be a caregiver that has an excellent personality fit for what that client is needing.
Care Mountain has industry leadership experience since 1986 at matching up caregivers with clients for that right fit. This extensive experience is a main reason we have a 96%+ rate of getting that right caregiver fit the first time, and as a result caregiver turnover is at one of the lowest rates in our home health care industry. Minimizing caregiver turnover is a critical success factor when working with elderly that are lonely or feeling depressed. I have taken over many cases from other agencies where the chief complaint is no stable caregivers. This makes the client feel like no one wants to work with them, and/or they have done something wrong. Both of which adds to their current struggles and stress.
Diane’s daughter Karen called Care Mountain for in home care in Plano, TX three years ago. They both lived in the same home, and one of Karen’s concerns was that she was taking off work more frequently to help her mom, so she felt it was time to bring in some home health care to help. Diane had an issue with her liver that would flare up unpredictably and cause her a lot of pain. When I first met Diane she had very little motivation to keep up her appearance or a high level of personal hygiene, she also spent on average 22 hours a day in her bedroom, and much of that time laying in bed. Diane was only 76 years old and had no ambulatory issues. Her daughter seemed to be confounded at why her mom was increasingly calling her for assistance with things, yet was perfectly capable of handling most of those things on her own.
This was a common example of a client with feelings of depression and loneliness. Through a careful caregiver matching process we set Diane up with a caregiver that came in about four hours daily five days a week. This caregiver got Diane interested in and attending activities outside of the home, which caused Diane to take a renewed interest in her appearance and hygiene. One of her favorite outings was at the Plano Senior Recreation Center. Diane had recently moved from New Mexico, and this outing allowed her to make new friends that she could now do things with apart from her caregiver – helping her to help herself.
If interested, there are many other good senior centers in the area such as: Carrollton Senior Center, Senior Center at Frisco Square, Allen Senior Recreation Center, Richardson Senior Center, Coppell Senior & Community Center, Heritage Senior Center, Grapevine Senior Activities Center and The Summit in Grand Prairie.CLICK HERE FOR FAQ
4925 Greenville Ave #276 Dallas, TX 75206
1400 Preston Rd #466 Plano, TX 75093
9500 Ray White Rd, #271 Fort Worth, TX 76244
2201 Midway Road #100 B
Carrollton, TX 75006
1701 W Northwest Hwy #167 Grapevine, TX 76051