Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Understanding Senior Independence

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By Nurse Diane

From a teacher who asked her third grade to write how they spent their spring break holiday. One child wrote about visiting his Grandparents at their Retirement Home.

"We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live here in a big brick house, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Arizona. Now they live in a place with a lot of other retarded people.

"They live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass. They ride around on big tricycles and wear name tags because they don't know who they are anymore.

"They go to a building called a wrecked center, but they must have got it fixed, because it is all right now.

"They play games and do exercises there, but they don't do them very well. There is a swimming pool too, but they just jump up and down in it with their hats on. I guess they don't know how to swim.

"At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out. Then they go cruising in their golf carts.

"My Grandma used to bake cookies and stuff, but I guess she forgot how.
"Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And they eat the same thing every night: 'Early Birds Dinners'.

"Some of the people can't get past the man in the doll house to go out. So, the ones who do get out bring food back to the wrecked center and call it pot luck.

"My Grandma says Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too. When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the doll house.

"Then I will let people out so they can visit their grandchildren."
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This is National Senior Independence Month.  Senior Adults are living longer, and staying healthier.  Many adult children who have lost a parent have concerns about the remaining parent being alone, and being able to take care of themselves.  However there are many things that can ease their fears about living alone.
1.    They can check on them regularly, or call daily,
2.    Help with grocery shopping or contact Meals on Wheels if necessary.
3.    Keep check on medications, making sure they know when to take them and what they are being prescribed for.  Make sure they are able to open the bottles too.
4.    Make the home safe from falls or fires by removing throw rugs and checking to make sure electrical outlets aren't overloaded.
5.    Make sure there is plenty of space to move around the room freely without bumping into furniture.
6.    Make sure there are proper locks on doors and windows.
7.    Obtain a service to contact emergency assistance at the push of a button.
8.    Install handles in the bathroom
9.    Make sure there is proper lighting and working bulbs.  Have a flash light handy for when electricity goes out.
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Adults want to keep their independence for as long as possible.  My family has been fortunate, they have all been able to stay home during their lives, and have been able to take care of themselves with little assistance.  With a few precautionary measures, the senior adults in your life should be able to function at home without any difficulty, if they have no serious medical conditions that would prevent that.  Senior adults deserve our time, assistance and patience as well as our respect.   If you have any seniors in your life who are living independently, take some time this month to check on them and make sure they have the things they need to make their lives more comfortable.

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