Meet them where they are.

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This is not a one size fits all concept, but one that we use in the professional community I work in. Meet them where they are means, don't think "they should"..."they ought to"," at their age it should be simple to"...

Our parents grew up in an Era where diarrhea killed; women stayed home with children and elders and MEN ruled the world. Things have changed, and for my mother at least, the speed leaves tears in her eyes. A young great nephew "came out"...she happy that he's happy, but oh my, the Church???. A great niece is pregnant (good) but no husband ( the girl makes three times what I do and twice what her father does). The long term boy friend is wonderful, but of a different ethnicity.... oh my.

Life, on a regular day is overwhelming for folks in their 80s or 90s. Throw in some MCI or early dementia, and you've got a total whammy.

Put things in terms they can understand. A maid, a laundress, a housecleaner. Not Home health care. Not an aide. Find out what tasks they need help with, rather than telling "you need help with". Make the help task specific. Give it a shot!

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Babalou, great advice, ask what they need help with instead of telling them what to do. And to use simple terms.

My Dad has never called the caregivers "caregivers", he calls them "the girls". Both my parents would refer to a woman doctor as "the nurse". But if there was a male nurse, he was "the doctor". There were other eye rolling moments, but that was their era and they never caught up to the 21st century.

Dad will be in for a shock, as for the first time in his life, at 94, he now has cable TV, with all day news stations :)
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I used to belittle my mom's panic about about one lose stool. After talking to her geriatrician and doing some research, i got a better grasp of her panic. You have to try to get in their heads some times.
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Excellent suggestions, and so very true. There have been so many changes, some of them drastic, in American life since our parents were born. Those kinds of changes existed between the time they were born and we were born, and even more have occurred since then, especially with the electronics revolution and change from personal communication to impersonal communication through wired or wireless networks.

The social standards and more liberal levels of acceptance are important factors in the change as well. Our parents see life they way they grew up and learned to accept it as vanishing. I would think it makes them feel a bit alienated, and "squeezed out" of contemporary living. I often feel that way myself, especially as to the reliance on a lifestyle which does not emphasize self sufficiency, moderation, and especially conservation and reduction of carbon footprints.

That personal touch they enjoyed, just sitting on the porch in the evening and talking to neighbors who might have been out walking their dogs, has disappeared from many neighborhoods.

Interesting, though, that some smaller cities still maintain that environment. As I drove through the small downtown area of a local city noted for its "funkiness", I saw at least a dozen dogs enjoying walks along the city streets. It was an entirely different atmosphere from some cities.

Thanks for sharing these very insightful suggestions.
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