Psychological Aspects

Falls can drastically change many people’s lives. It is usually a time when change is inevitable. The senior can go living independently and performing daily activities alone or with the limited assistance, to needing a walker and not being able to dress themselves, etc.

Accepting one’s limitations as you get older is a very difficult thing to accept, and in many cases can cause people to go through the often talked about, stages of grieving. Those stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is not unlikely that these stages apply, especially the denial, depression, and anger stages, and mourning the loss of control and independence brought on by age, etc.

A son/daughter assisting in the making of decisions is not an uncommon, and can tend to be a very difficult process. It is especially difficult when the child has the power of attorney to make a choice. At this point, it is their responsibility to make a decision in the best interest of the parent and to select an arrangement that will provide the safest and most comfortable setting for the parent. The same attitude is usually used when they do not have the legal right to make a decision and the problem becomes convincing the senior to make the same choice, which especially difficult when the senior may be the only one legally empowered to make that choice.

It is for all parties, especially the children, to be supportive and acknowledge the issues that the parent may be experiencing. The parent may be angry, depressed, and may even be having suicidal thoughts. The child should consider recruiting trusted professionals, including the senior’s physicians, occupational and physical therapists, social workers, and psychologists who can meet with the senior individually and/or jointly. Family members and friends could play a role by presenting a consistent stream of recommendations that basically conclude that the time has come for the senior to consider alternatives to the type of independent living that he or she has grown accustomed to, then there is a strong likelihood that change will be easier to make and it will ultimately be the senior’s decision. It is important to focus on the advantages of a continuing care retirement community, assisted living or a nursing home. Provide the senior with options, such as a temporary arrangement where the senior is able to try a community or facility or home before making an official commitment.

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