Author Topic: Caring for Elderly Parents  (Read 5346 times)

Hegemony

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #90 on: March 24, 2020, 11:54:20 PM »
I would not go. It's clear that you can transmit the coronavirus before you have symptoms, or even if you never have symptoms. One question is: if she came down with it -- and the prognosis would probably not be good -- could you live with yourself afterwards? Would you say, "Well, but she didn't tell me not to come, so I don't feel bad"?

polly_mer

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #91 on: March 25, 2020, 05:11:18 AM »
It's one thing to not believe in the germ theory of disease, it's another to say that you will just risk disease transmission in order to continue to have contact with relative X, especially if that relative is older, alone, perhaps scared, wants to see you, etc.

I usually visit my overweight but otherwise healthy 73yo Aunt every other Sunday.  I emailed her yesterday telling her I'm well, good to come up this weekend as scheduled, unless she says otherwise, and I made it clear to her that she must feel perfectly free to tell me not to do so.   I can't say that the reality that I am continuing to work a very public pt retail job hasn't caused me to wonder whether I should not just make an executive decision and say that I'm not coming, but she really wants me to come.  So....?

Offer a phone call or Skype/Portal/FaceTime instead of a physical visit.

If it's possible to do an outdoor visit (e.g., she's on the porch and you're in a lawn chair you bring yourself from home 20 feet away) where you are, then that's another option.  You can in fact call someone while being visible to them and never get close enough to transmit disease.  I certainly don't find shouting across the lawn appealing, but being visible and using the telephone to have a conversation at a reasonable volume is something I see frequently on the slice-of-life segments on the news.

Yes, we should all stay in emotional contact with elderly relatives; we just don't have to do any of the things that germ transmission theory tell us are going to infect people who are the most closely related to us.  Now might be the time to increase frequency of phone/Skype/etc.  to better meet emotional needs of our elderly loved ones and to be able to step in for other types of support (getting groceries delivered, ensuring that medicine is still being purchased and taken) as necessary.

Typhoid Mary remains a trope because she flat out refused to take reasonable precautions.  Protect your loved one by acting on your germ theory knowledge and taking advantage of 21st century technology to remain physically distant while socially connected.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 05:15:36 AM by polly_mer »
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statsgeek

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #92 on: March 25, 2020, 05:45:32 AM »
Chime with all of these challenges.  StatDad is healthy, but at risk just due to age.  I can't seem to convince him that he doesn't NEED to go to the grocery store several times a week.  He's also sure that, if he's healthy and we're healthy, and we've all been under "stay at home" orders, that it's ok for us to drive down for Passover as scheduled.  (He did cancel the large seder.)  It's killing me to say no, because I'm never not been home for a Passover and this means he'd be by himself, but I think our seder is going to have to be virtual this year. 

And don't even get me started on the in-laws. 

polly_mer

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #93 on: March 25, 2020, 06:04:36 AM »
I just can't let it go.

It's one thing to not believe in the germ theory of disease, it's another to say that you will just risk disease transmission in order to continue to have contact with relative X, especially if that relative is older, alone, perhaps scared, wants to see you, etc.

Would you drive drunk with Auntie wearing no seatbelt in the front seat because it's probably OK and hardly any traffic accidents happen on Sunday at 1500?

Would you let the Auntie dance around on the roof because she really, really wants to do that and hardly anyone dies from a mere 12 foot fall into the grass?

If you really, truly to the depths of your soul believe in germ theory and know what current best information tells us regarding who tends to get a severe case with lingering effects even if they survive, then there's only one logical choice.

To choose otherwise for a social visit is either morally wrong or indicates that one really doesn't believe germ theory and the related biological realities as scientists know them.
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nebo113

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #94 on: March 25, 2020, 07:19:14 AM »
91 year old, very health mother lives in retirement community, not nursing facility though many people have private care givers. Management has take prudent, appropriate measures over the past several weeks.  Sister and I, along with Mother, are, so far, comfortable with the situation.  If that changes, we have an alternative.  We are fortunate.

kaysixteen

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #95 on: March 25, 2020, 09:54:19 PM »
She took the decision out of my hands by emailing me today to tell me not to come, fearing for me based on the ongoing exposure I have due to my retail job.  She also seems noticeably more personally scared than even in her email from Monday.  And she has for weeks made it clear she's not afraid, wants to avoid paranoia, etc.  Obviously I will honor her wishes, and am trying to avoid the upwelling of fear myself;. I am after all still working that job.  Heck,even my brother, a single man and active duty military officer, seems pretty scared and sent me an unsolicited check yesterday.  This seems somewhat akin to cooking a lean piece of meat , where it will be underdone underdone underdone until in the blink of an eye it would become overdone, unless one is very careful....

As I said, I will certainly honor her wishes to stay away till she says differently, and have told her so, but I also firmly believe that invisible germs just ain't the only overall health concerns we have to worry about, and the proper balance may well be very hard to discern, and may well shift over time.

polly_mer

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #96 on: March 26, 2020, 04:15:38 AM »
As I said, I will certainly honor her wishes to stay away till she says differently, and have told her so, but I also firmly believe that invisible germs just ain't the only overall health concerns we have to worry about, and the proper balance may well be very hard to discern, and may well shift over time.

Call your aunt more often and make that personal contact without the germs.  Do I have to make a series of links to why the WHO now recommends physical distancing with maintaining emotional contact?

Yes, people are scared and that's understandable.

Call/Skype/FaceTime to keep the emotional contact.

For years, my parents and I did about one phone call and perhaps three emails per year.  This week, we've done two Skypes and have another scheduled for Saturday.  This appears to be the pattern for the foreseeable future.

Call your aunt/brother/college roommate and maintain emotional contact to help each other during a scary time.  Just don't get physically close enough to share germs.

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AmLitHist

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #97 on: March 26, 2020, 07:42:44 AM »
Today is ALHS's mom's 90th birthday.  She's in better shape than either of us--lives alone in an apartment, drives, goes to do her laundry and grocery shop (until COVID).  Since she didn't want anything for her birthday, he took per a package of toilet paper.

She agreed that it was the first time she'd ever gotten that for a birthday present.  (And she was grateful for it.)

Cheerful

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #98 on: March 26, 2020, 08:13:09 AM »
Heck,even my brother, a single man and active duty military officer, seems pretty scared and sent me an unsolicited check yesterday.

Today is ALHS's mom's 90th birthday.  She's in better shape than either of us--lives alone in an apartment, drives, goes to do her laundry and grocery shop (until COVID).  Since she didn't want anything for her birthday, he took per a package of toilet paper.

She agreed that it was the first time she'd ever gotten that for a birthday present.  (And she was grateful for it.)

These are heartwarming, important stories, thank you, kaysixteen and AmLitHist.  When books are written about this time, hope they include vignettes like these.

Morden

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #99 on: March 26, 2020, 09:20:46 AM »
I had an elaborate plan to pick up things to be mailed and drop off extra groceries at my 94 year-old mother's house without face to face contact. It failed. But at least it failed outside with me backing up as she kept coming closer.

kaysixteen

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #100 on: March 26, 2020, 11:22:09 AM »
I get the germ part, have already made it clear to anyone who's not being deliberately obtuse.  But human contact is also important for the elderly.  I will stay away for now, but what would you suggest I do if she did become sick?  Obviously I would not go see her and then head out into the world, but I couldn't leave her alone, now could I?

It probably also ought to go undisputed that most elderly folks aren't really equipped for Skype and other such technical options..

mamselle

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #101 on: March 26, 2020, 12:15:23 PM »
Umm....the grandparents of all 6 of my younger music students Skype with them as a matter of course.

Our library has "Skype for Elders" classes (now online) to teach people the basics.

If they have any kind of computer, it is not to hard to set up.

And there's always the phone...my mom never wanted to deal with "all that computer stuff," but expected weekly phone calls 'til her dying day.

Increased frequency over visual contact may be the only way to highten a sense of your presence, but that's at least something.

The harder part, of course, is that we care for people and want to reach out--it's a good impulse, just not appropriate in some of its usual forms right now.

M.
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apl68

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #102 on: March 26, 2020, 01:28:14 PM »
Again, kay's not being obtuse.  "Most" may be something of an exaggeration, but in many places a large proportion of senior households do indeed have no telecommunications resources, apart from (usually) telephone service, radio, and TV.  In many rural areas broadband internet access still lags.  The situation in our community is still pretty bad in that respect.  Social media is still a long way from being an option for everybody in the U.S.

I appreciate the urgency of warnings here about social distancing...but to be honest, there's also an awful lot of judgementalism toward those who, unlike the average connected, up-to-the-minute academic, find isolating themselves from their nearest and dearest, treating them like any other anonymous "disease vectors," extremely counterintuitive and problematic.  Adam Gopnik, in the current issue of The New Yorker, has made the observation that the current epidemic "punishes people for behaving well."  It's precisely those communities--the nation of Italy, strong extended families, church groups--that have done the best job of retaining close community connections and avoiding the alienating effects of modern life and technology that are suffering the worst now.

In my state the biggest cluster of Covid-19 cases so far has been a single small-town church congregation.  These people weren't guilty of the kind of pigheaded tempting of fate that Fallwell and Liberty U have been guilty of.  Their last meeting was weeks ago, when there were still only two or three confirmed cases in our state, and school and other shutdowns were just beginning to snowball.  They were innocent of any "wrongdoing."  Then the next thing anybody knows, literally half the congregation who were present have come down with Covid-19.  And one of the church's most beloved seniors is now dead.  They're all heartbroken about it.  And I can guarantee you that various self-appointed commentators who don't know anybody there are now flaying them alive online for having failed to be just a couple of days further along in their awareness of the epidemic crisis.

A lot of the people who are suffering worst form this, and being condemned for their faults, were only doing what in another context would have been considered commendable.  This epidemic has changed the context with blinding speed.  Let's have a heart toward those who are being caught flat-footed by the change.

polly_mer

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #103 on: March 26, 2020, 03:24:31 PM »
Let's have a heart toward those who are being caught flat-footed by the change.

The heart part is proposing other solutions like sitting on the front lawn and calling so there isn't shouting.

If one really, truly, no-foolin' believes the germ theory, then there are actions that are the equivalent of juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle in heavy traffic.  Feelings have no effect on the situation, no matter how much one wants to assert that feelings override science because it could be OK.  I will absolutely continue to judge people who are encouraging bad behavior because it's too mean to speak harsh realities.

The kicker in much of life is the disconnect between the way we'd like things to be and how they really are.

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mamselle

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Re: Caring for Elderly Parents
« Reply #104 on: March 26, 2020, 08:12:53 PM »
True, but apl68's point is in line with the nature of the virus itself.

It's stealthy: it's often undiagnosed because it's silently transmitted and doesn't cause symptoms so it's possible for a whole congregation, that early in the discovery phase, not to know or understand the issues.

Unlike, forgive me, but the stupid bench-scientists at Biogen, who had a much better basis for knowledge and the in-house means of avoiding a large meeting face-to-face--who went ahead and met in person anyway.

Their folly infected several towns-full of people in two or three quick jumps.

M.

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.