Follow
Share

So it wasn't on this site but on another help-for-seniors/caregivers-of site, and this well-meaning (but *OUT-OF-TOUCH*) expert wrote an article about how to help the elderly be less lonely. In this article, the expert used a lonely elderly woman as the example. Some of the tips suggested were: GET HER TO VOLUNTEER. Uhm, okay, she most likely doesn't drive (or shouldn't be driving) anymore; will you be the one to drive her to her volunteer job? Oh, she should take a taxi or Uber, you say? Will you pay for the taxis or Uber (if those are even available in her area; lot of areas they're not)? HAVE HER MOVE OUT OF WHEREVER SHE'S LIVING INTO AN INDEPENDENT LIVING OR SENIORS COMPLEX OF SOME KIND WHERE THEY HAVE NICE LITTLE GET-TOGETHERS & ACTIVITIES. All rightie, will you be paying for her to move & her rent? Because you see, around here, even just a decent apt. complex costs about $1,000/mo. & indep. living places? They start at $1,500-$2,000/mo. So who's gonna help her pay for that? You? And the biggest hurdle of all to her moving to somewhere where she'll be less lonely? Is she married? She is? Okay, you gonna help her get divorced (and pay for a good divorce atty.)? Because the stubborn old guy she's married to is 99 if not 100 percent of why she hasn't moved to somewhere less lonely. So speaking from a lonely old woman's experience, maybe you experts can start to see why "curing" loneliness is waaaaay harder, if not impossible, for way too many elderly.

To Becky04473, you said your aunt is 95 and "uses senior transportation or cabs. I would like to be as active as she is." That's great if you live in an area where the senior "transportation" works worth a darn--my elderly Dad & Stepmom had to wait *3 HOURS* for senior transportation to pick them up from a doctor's apptmt. once & altho. it was never that long a wait other times, it happened other times too. Plus how many of us elderly can afford cabs (or Uber) every time they want to go somewhere? Not me or any of the people I know.
(1)
Report

Are the problems financial or are they social support?
(1)
Report

CarlaCB: "The person who walks in the door with the patient is then expected to take the patient home and devote themselves to fulfilling the patient's every need."

So true! I am no longer allowed back to the examining room with my mother, so I don't hear what goes on (and, unfortunately, neither does my mother for at least some of it). So there are no instructions to me.

There has been one ER visit since the "you shall not talk to doctors edict." I did go back to the ER examining room (considering that next time I won't even do that, because the staff looks on relatives and free help; I don't want to be my mother's bathroom aide over and over). When they tried to have me sign the dischage instructions, I said my mother signs for everything herself. So I'm wondering if that will get rid of the expectations on me in the future for something more significant.

If not, and they still try to push after-care on me, for perhaps something more significant, I will say that I don't sign for my mother and that she lives alone and no, I am not available for her care. And stand firm (one of the MOST valuable things I've learned on this forum!).

I hope that in my mother's final days that my three brothers come and do their share. I hope we have the warning that time is short. Whatever it is, if it's that sort of a situation, she will be in a facility and I will not be expected to do 24/7 caregiving or vigils.
(3)
Report

CTTN55 - I hear you, and I certainly agree with the point you've made. The whole 7 years I was taking care of my mother (up until the present time), I not only resented it but I felt I was supporting a societal norm which with I vehemently disagreed - the idea that daughters especially should be expected to put their own lives on hold for years on end to cater to the demands of needy parents. Medical professionals especially expect this, because they know their elderly patients have needs far beyond what the medical system can provide, and they turn to the patient's family to take care of all of it. The person who walks in the door with the patient is then expected to take the patient home and devote themselves to fulfilling the patient's every need.

Now, in the final days of my mother's life, I feel differently. For one thing, I have support. Three of my four surviving sisters are here with me, and we are all caring for Mom as she lays dying in bed. This is the family caregiving I wanted and hoped to do when I moved down to Florida - not the 7+ years of imprisonment I experienced up till now. All those years of being nothing but an end to someone else's means - nobody should have to do that, and I continue to thing nobody should.
(3)
Report

KatieKate, I don’t expect to be doing the same things at 80 or 90 that I’m doing now. I can’t predict the future. I am DPOA for two ladies in their early 90’s who are nursing home residents. Even though nursing home residents and they maintain social contact to a certain extent. My aunt is 95 and she still attends church, plays bridge and attends weekly homemaker’s club. She uses senior transportation or cabs. I would like to be as active as she is.
(2)
Report

Becky....yeah, at that age both of my parents were that active too...and they did organized hikes in the canyons on weekends.

But, at 78 they slowed down at lot....by 85 they were no longer able to drive. No more energy for daily volunteer work.

Do not think that 68 years of age is what you can expect from 78 and 88. Most of the caregivers here are dealing with elderly much older than that, and much more frail.
(2)
Report

I am 68 and I am married. I keep involved. I maintain involvement in two professional organizations, serve on committees for those groups that I enjoy. I also maintain friendships with former co-workers. I do volunteer work at a local nursing home. I tutor college students during the academic year. I also still work part-time, although I’ve been off because of health problems. I also volunteer with a well baby clinic. I read the activities calendar in every weekend’s newspaper. I try different activities. I take community classes occasionally. I belong to two book clubs- each with a different focus.
(3)
Report

My heart goes out to you CTTN55; I think you've hit the nail right on the head too: for so long, this country has expected the "womenfolk" to do all (both elder & child) care; well espec. ever since World War 2, people have been having fewer & fewer kids, & more & more (virtually all) married women work outside the home; so there are just fewer & fewer wives, sisters, daughters, aunties, etc. to take care of the elderly. But nobody seems to be giving much thought as to who's gonna do it now? (Other than expensive in-home care services, of course; which leaves most of us out in the cold.)
(5)
Report

1.5 years ago my mother's PCP told me my mother "needs socialization." I just looked at her, and she then elaborated,"She needs someone to check in with her daily to see what she needs." I just continued to look at her.

She expected ME to do this, I'm sure. (PCP is from Nepal and went to medical school there; the Nepalese families take care of their elders, I read.) Well, NO, lady, I'm NOT doing it. Her daily "needs" would really be "wants." And she'd run me ragged.

I told my mother on the way home that the PCP said she needed more socialization. (My mother never heard this, although it was said in front of her.) She was offended, and said her telephone calls to people was socialization. She then said I was not to go back to the examining room with her anymore, because she didn't want them talking to me and not her.

So that's the way it's been. She's on her own with all of it. I'm just the Dummy Daughter Driver. I'm no longer signing the discharge instructions from ER visits, either. She is such a control freak that I'm giving her total control and will not be involved.

I have a bad relationship with my mother, and can barely stand to be around her. I shouldn't be doing any of her caregiving. I have drawn very strong boundaries.

I read somewhere that the US relies on unpaid caregiving by women for a large percentage of eldercare. These "experts" assume these women will come out of the woodwork to meet the ever-burgeoning population of elders? Ummm...NO.
(5)
Report

Experts, it seems to me, derive their knowledge and expertise from other experts without ever going near the front lines.

Hence they know two thirds of diddly-squat about anything useful.

N.b. most invited professional contributors to AC are not guilty.
(4)
Report

My father was extremely social. It was his idea to move to assisted living. But he refuses to get a hearing aid so now while he is surrounded by people his age he cannot but converse with them because most of them also can't hear. So he sits in his room and watches tv all day alone. I agree this is a condition of living so long.
(3)
Report

My father is terribly lonely and bored. He used to very actively volunteer until he became so physically frail that it was no longer possible. And despite what anyone may say, there are simply no easy answers. It’s sad to watch
(5)
Report

Hi, thanks all for the nice comments. I agree about the naive approach of the so-called experts; they probably don't even have any contact with any elderly people, or just with elderly relatives who are wealthy enuff to be tucked away in ritzy places.

And to GAinPA who said, "Seems to me that feeling lonely is part of the whole experience of living longer and not dying young.", I'm starting to think you're right; scary thought but I'm afraid you're right.
(6)
Report

This kind of naïve approach by so-called experts is to me characteristic of people who analyze not from doing and being in the situation, but from a distance, sometimes a nice cushy job distance.

They have no real world experience and really have no concept of the issues involved, or the incredible limitations.
(6)
Report

Living with relatives, you give up a lot of your independence and lifestyle preferences (room temp, pets, tv volume, getting up during the night, etc. (and don't forget: the people you decide to live with still won't be there 24/7 to keep you company). Living in senior housing, you give up your home and often your pet. And, if you are not a social person to begin with, chances are you are not going to participate with the social activities anyway. If you live in your own home have scheduled personal care, friends, and family visits, you still might feel lonely. Seems to me that feeling lonely is part of the whole experience of living longer and not dying young.
(6)
Report

Be a volunteer is the advice that is always handed out to anyone over the age of 55. Bored? Lonely? Unfulfilled and don't know what to do with the rest of your life? Be a volunteer!

And I agree the cost of senior living is waaay too much, I toured a new 55+ complex nearby that was really just apartments with zero amenities and rent was $2000, this is in an area where regular apts can still be had for under $1000.
(4)
Report

I remember that article (or one much like it) and had the same reaction. Those suggestions were totally unrealistic for my mother, who is not mobile enough to volunteer at anything, and could never afford assisted living. She lives in a senior community that offers activities, and she took advantage of those activities only when and as she was able. But her hearing failed and she couldn't function at the bridge games anymore, and her mobility is too poor to even navigate around this relatively user-friendly community. Anyone who can't get out into the world and join activities is almost destined to end up lonely. Sadly, the only people they can rely on are those who are willing to come to them and accommodate their limitations in any activities they undertake.
(6)
Report

I'm no expert, but my volunteer endeavors have shown me that there are people and organizations that care. You can find one that does friendly visits or friendly phone calls. You could maybe be one that makes the phone calls. Help yourself while helping others.

Unfortunately to many experts have loads of theory and no practical experience, I mean how can a 35 year relate to being a senior. They don't even creak when they move yet.

I hope you find something that helps you not feel lonely, it is rampant in today's society. It seems that so few people even notice there are other humans on the planet.

Hugs 2 u!
(5)
Report