Mom sleeps till the afternoon and doesn't eat much during the day. Is a companion the right solution? - AgingCare.com

Mom sleeps till the afternoon and doesn't eat much during the day. Is a companion the right solution?

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Would the companion get her up earlier to eat and maybe engage her in an activity? Does anyone from the NY metro area have good experience with an agency for companions? I am waiting for results of tests her geriatrician took, but her behavior might be caused by emotional problems. She just has no energy anymore and sometimes refuses to eat more than a little bit. Some days she eats a little better, but seems to have to force herself at times. I know I can hire someone but it is very expensive and I don't know if it would help. I am thinking to do it just for someone to be with her while I'm gone at work or out with friends for awhile. She stays safe, but I wish she'd eat and occupy herself the way she used to. P.S. Mom is 98 now, but since unable to go out walking on her own, I think that has caused her decline. She is unsteady on her feet and afraid of falling outside. When I try to take her for a walk, she won't go far or doesn't want to go at all. Mom gets upset when I mention hiring a companion to stay with her. What to do? Is counseling (therapy) for the elderly effective?

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Wow 98 that's remarkable and I'm not surprised that she is more lethargic and eating less. Certainly, she isn't as hungry with less activity. Elders lose their sense of taste, sense of hunger, etc and just plain forget to eat or don't because its too much effort to fix something. Plus, they don't really like to eat alone.

You might ask at your church if they have a group or other elders that do home visits to provide companionship. Other option is to hire someone you trust to come in around lunch for a couple hrs that will sit and eat with her or have a snack with her and just provide companionship.

It's tough but I wouldn't force the physical activity. If you both get out in the morning or evening even just to share a glass of wine, tea, or lemonade outside on the deck or on the patio that should be plenty.

Also contact the Jewish league, they sometimes can connect you with services or assistance you may not have thought about.

Relax and don't fret over this, enjoy your quality time together and don't worry about her being entertained. Do the small things, sitting by an open window, sharing a cup of tea and some nice music.
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Hiring a caregiver probably is a good idea, so long as you can get someone who is a good personality match. It can give them something to look forward to and some variety in their otherwise very boring and lonely lives.

The problem can sometimes be making sure that you have a good personality match. Around here, caregiver companies care more about getting a billable person on your floor than having someone who will interact and connect with the senior.

For my dad, one company sent in a 23 yr old lady from Africa who didn't speak much English, sat on her cell phone most of the day as verified by nanny cam, was scared to death of any dog, and would sneak out to the kitchen (again verified by cam) about every 15 minutes and raid the pantry for herself. We got no benefit from it at all and Dad just slept in his chair all day while she was here. You can't prevent disasters like this, but you have to know what you are paying for.
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My Granny has similar issues. From what I've read and what her doctors have conveyed; As elders get older, they sleep a lot. I don't push my Granny with a schedule because I feel at her age she knows exactly what her body needs and my idea of what is healthy shouldn't dictate her remaining time here. She gets up around noon sometimes due to arthritis and insomnia and takes cat-naps throughout the day.

Creating a community, scheduling help and social time is super important for the both of you. All the very best to you.
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Hiring a caregiver is a good idea. I don't know what time your mom gets up or what time you'd like her to get up but a caregiver would come whatever time you think is best. If you want mom up by 8am have the caregiver come at 8am and get your mom up, help her get cleaned up, whatever you and/or your mom need. The caregiver can fix her breakfast or put our whatever you'd like your mom to have for breakfast. Most agencies have a 2 hour minimum. You could start off slow for your mom's sake. Let her get used to the idea of having someone come in to assist her and keep her company. It is expensive. I don't know how much it is where you live but here it's between $18-$20/hr. Look for an agency in your area and then research them. Find online reviews that are separate from the agency's website. You can find independent reviews by googling the agency. Usually yahooanswers.com has a lot of reviews.

As for therapy, if your mom is unsteady on her feet and hesitant about going out walking I think you'd have a huge headache on your hands with therapy. If your mom doesn't want someone coming into the house I'd bet that your mom wouldn't want to go out for help. Therapists listen and try to assist their clients to become willing to change their behavioral patterns so they can be happier or more content. At 98 I think your mom's behavioral patterns are pretty much set in stone.

At 98, a decline is inevitable. You may not be able to stop it but there are things you can do to make her comfortable and that's what you're trying to do. I think your mom is very lucky to have you as a daughter.
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