Have you always gotten along well with this person? If so, having this loved one come to your home may work very well; if not, your chances of success are less than a snowball's in Haiti.
Are you able to empathize with this person's loss of autonomy? If you can place yourself in his or her shoes, it will help you understand why s/he clings to control or why s/he is experiencing depression, both of which are very common in the elderly.
Speaking of clinging to control, when the chips are down, are you able to speak firmly into this person's life? Can you say when a bath must be taken or when a walker must be used or any one of a number of musts? If you couldn't possibly, you will soon find yourself run over by an elderly loved one who is trying to remain in control to the detriment of his or her own health, not to mention yours.
Is your home safe? By that I mean, are there scatter rugs about? Are light switches easily accessible? Are the floors level? Are there cats that scratch? Dogs that jump? Is there room to pass in the hall? If there are any concerns about your home, carefully consider what having an invalid there will mean.
Also, are there at least two bathrooms in the home? If not, it's important to know that one's own health is put at risk when one must regularly wait for bathroom time as will often prove necessary with an elderly person in residence.
What about the dietary needs of the individual? Are you willing to prepare multiple meals to satisfy the needs or even whims of your guest?
What about the extra work load that a guest requires? The laundry, the cleaning, the personal care requirements? Can you take care of another's most personal care needs? Can you give another person a bath? Can you clean another's dentures? Can you do this for your own ______?
Can you communicate clearly with doctors, lawyers, the IRA, Medicare, Social Security, etc., and so on?
Are you willing to give up personal time? Are you willing to give up music or whatever.it.may.be. that your guest finds upsetting? In my own circumstance, I have given up seeing my grandchildren as often as I'd like as my loved one finds them "too loud and boisterous" and I must be careful with music.
If you've answered yes to these questions, you may well be a candidate to step in as a personal caregiver for someone you love. If you've answered no, this is a good way of sorting out what kind of commitment you are willing to take on.
Caring for an elderly relative can be extremely rewarding, even when the elderly relative/friend doesn't seem to appreciate much of what is done for him or her. If your source of strength comes from the Lord and you need no personal recognition, not even a thank you, you will be better off for it. If you are leaning on the Lord and allowing Him to lead, together you may be able to see your loved one safely home (from this world to the next) without any appreciable time being spent in a nursing care facility. It is my prayer...
As I pushed my grandmother into the examining room, the nurse asked me a bit under her breath, "How are you?"
I grinned at her as best I could and said, "One of us needs a pill. Perhaps it's me."
It had been the worst possible of days. Nan has begun to wander and she has already fallen three times. She hears water running in the night and can't believe that I am so careless as to leave the water on so she must go check. She hears music and can't believe that I am so careless as to leave the computer on or the radio on or the tv on and must go check. It's never her problem; it's always mine.
Trying to explain that she is scaring me to death is like trying to explain the theory of relativity to her. She waves her hand and says, "pah!"
The doctor does a cognitive test that my grandmother passes with flying colors. It includes writing, drawing, remembering things in series, and spelling forwards and backwards. I had no idea that my little nana could spell "toward" backwards. Goodness, I'm not sure that I could. In the end, the doctor says that her mind is very good. "I know that," she states emphatically.
"Then you are wandering about knowing full well what you're doing?" the doctor asks gently.
Wonder why I'm sitting here with a five-page information sheet on Alzheimer's with her name on the top that begins...
"A common difficult behavior associated with AD is wandering..."