A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

CaptainCommando

It would be unrealistic to expect a move of such gargantuan portions to occur without challenges—and even chaos.  “It’s really hard,” Sam stated when Judene and I visited again today.  And yet, we observed real progress in the midst of the confusion.

First of all, Katie’s living area is in the middle of renovation—new laminate is being installed to facilitate use of the Hoyer lift and wheelchair.  The bathroom has been gutted in preparation for converting the entire space into a shower room that includes a commode and pedestal sink.  Also, ramps are being built outside to improve wheelchair accessibility.  So it’s noisy and busy with the workers coming and going, but the end product will definitely enhance Sam and Gloria’s ability to provide Katie with the best of care.

Secondly, two weeks ago, Sam stated, “I can’t see Gloria being able to transfer Katie alone; it is a two-person job.”  He has been arranging for neighbors to help on the evenings that he works.  Today Sam was much more optimistic, and said that he would try transferring Katie solo tonight, and if that works, Gloria will try next.  Of course they will be there to spot each other and make sure that Katie is safe.

Thirdly, Katie has a home health company that provides visits from a nurse, physical therapist, and occupational therapist.  Those services will end soon because it has been determined that Katie does not have the potential to make significant strides toward being able to transfer (let alone walk).  However, they have shown Sam and Gloria how to do stretching exercises with Katie to keep her extremities less locked.  The exercises will be a part of her regular routine of care, especially since Gloria reports that Katie now cries out much less often.

Most significantly, Katie’s mental and emotional state has improved dramatically in a very short period of time—literally overnight.  Through the act of bringing Katie home she has gained some sense of having control in her life.  The result:  Katie has dubbed herself  “Captain Commando.”  How great she feels to be at the wheel of her own ship.

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