PO Box 2297
Annapolis, MD 21401

410-834-1452
wmiller@annapolisseniors.com

Helping Loved Ones set Goals for the New Year

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As we enter a New Year, it’s a good opportunity for everyone, including seniors, to reflect on the past year and look ahead to what the New Year might bring.  For some older adults, health issues like dementia and depression may make this more difficult to identify.  However, by asking your loved one, you may find that they already have some ideas about how they’d like to make the next year great.  For those having difficulty coming up with ideas, here are a few:

  1. Resolving to take care of yourself – The freedom and flexibility of retirement can sometimes make it easy to let routine tasks slide.  In addition, health concerns can also further these difficulties.  For example, cleaning the house, personal grooming, scheduling doctors’ appointments and taking medications may fall by the wayside.  If you have noticed any of these with your loved one, it may be beneficial to talk to and assist them in setting up support services at home.  This may include regular housekeeping services or a home care aide that can assist.

  2. Resolve to ask for help when you need it – It is understandably difficult for an adult to ask for help after they’ve been independent their whole lives, but if you notice your loved one struggling, it is important to have a delicate discussion with them that there is no shame in accepting help they so willingly provided for others for years.  If private caregiving help is required and they have financial means to cover these costs but are reluctant to use them, remind them that this is why they saved their money over all of these years and that this is an investment in maximizing their quality of life.

  3. Resolve to have realistic expectations for myself and others – As we get older, it is important to be realistic about the physical limitations that are a result of our aging.   A loved one may insist they are able to do things, such as driving or taking care of yardwork, etc, even when this may be unsafe.  Encourage your loved one to take a realistic look at what they can do, and set clear boundaries as to what you can realistically help with.

  4. Resolve to continue with social engagement – Although it can be difficult for those seniors that don’t have transportation, you can assist your loved one by helping them write letters to friends, or set up transportation that may be provided by your local Department of Aging to local senior centers.

  5. Resolve to explore a new way to grow  - Assist your loved one in thinking about ways to maximize their quality of life irrespective of any physical limitations that they may have.  If they were an avid reader throughout their lives but now have difficulty reading, they can read through audio books.  Also their local senior centers may offer opportunities for classes on a variety of subjects and topics.

For assistance in locating resources in your area to help maximize a seniors’ quality of life, contact your local Aging Life Care Professional through http://www.aginglifecare.org/.

In the Anne Arundel County, MD area, contact Aging Life Care Specialist and licensed clinical social worker, Wendy Miller, LCSW-C, CSW-G.  She has over 16 years of experience in geriatric social work in various medical settings and is the Principal of Annapolis Senior Care Solutions (www.annapolisseniors.com).  She can be reached at 410-834-1452 to discuss how her expertise can help you or your loved one.

 

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