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Somebody’s Sweetheart

February 9, 2012 by admin

The month of February and Valentine’s Day brings a celebration of love and stirs couples to rekindle feelings of romance and devotion. Not so different from young couples are aging seniors, celebrating memories of sweethearts and romance in days gone by. Sit a while with a senior couple and they will soon be telling you their romance story or listen to a widow or widower as they sing their favorite love song from their youth.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s can rob senior minds of many of these treasured memories, changing their personality and life style. Because of these and other illnesses, many seniors end up in nursing homes or care facilities where only their basic physical needs are cared for by the facility staff. To these seniors, Valentine’s Day becomes no different from every other day. They often find it difficult to relive memories of the past. In one care facility a sign placed lovingly over a patient’s bed reads, “I Am Somebody’s Sweetheart,” as if to say I once dreamed, lived and loved, please treat me kindly.
When asked how she relates to those she cares for, nurse assistant Karen W. replies that most of the time it’s those patients who are causing a disturbance or may be in danger of harming themselves who are the ones that get her attention. Even then she can only take care of the immediate problem. Very seldom has she time to personally get to know well all the elderly people she cares for.
Although this is true with many facilities, the need for more personalized care is, in some cases, being recognized. Assisted living facilities with specialized memory care programs — some using art, music and dance or physical activities — are finding great success with increasing the quality of life for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Many care facilities across the nation are adding these programs to better serve their residents.
If you cannot find a facility in your area that provides this special attention, home care may be a better option.
Consider this real experience. When Nora would visit her father in the nursing home she would find him sitting, slumped over and disinterested in his surroundings. By the time she and her young children finished their visit, he was alert and talking to them. Feeling he would do better in her home environment, Nora enlisted the services of a Geriatric Care Manager to evaluate her father and determine what would be needed for his care at home so that he could get the social stimulation that he needed.
Home care personnel are skilled in working with the spouse and extended family members of their ailing loved one to provide needed services and support in the home. They add consistency in the care and are available in time of crisis or need to add additional services.
“Somebody’s Sweetheart” may be in need of your loving care someday and help is available to reduce your burden and ease the journey.

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