Thursday, 1 May 2014
Taking Care of Older People
As we all know, with so many people leading busy lives it can be easy to forget that neighbour or elderly relative, especially if they are housebound.
Many of us are still able to get out to the shops so we do see people and have a chat - even if it is only with a shop assistant. Amazingly I have lived in my current flat for four years yet only know two people to chat with. Of course some neighbours are out at work. Fortunately I am on the internet and can keep in touch with friends and relatives. What I do find annoying is that the only time some of them telephone me it is to give me bad news! For those who can remember that far back, it is a little like dreading the appearance of a telegram.
Sometimes I will phone a friend for a chat and at the end of the conversation their response is either, 'Lovely to chat for a change,' or 'Don't leave it so long next time.' As if I'm the only one who can make phone calls! Some elderly people cannot afford to make calls.
Incidentally, when you ask an elderly person how they are and they say 'Fine', don't take that as gospel. They are either simply being polite or don't want to be a bother to you, assuming that if they tell you about their aches and pains you will think they are hinting to you that they need help.
If you know of an elderly person living near you take a couple of minutes to check that they are alright. When going to the shops find out if they need anything.
And, although you may give them your phone number and tell them to call you, they probably won't. Why not? Because they don't want to be a bother.
If you have elderly friends or relations how about taking them out occasionally? Even if it is just for a short drive and maybe a stop for a cuppa. That is something that housebound people really appreciate.
If you or your children have a 'project' that involves the past the best people to talk to are the elderly. We have long memories! You might be surprised to discover the history of some of your neighbours.
To learn about other ways to help the elderly go to www.ageuk.org.uk