Taking Care of the Elderly

Mr SL 1

Mr SL 1

Bette Davis said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies!”

If there is someone elderly in your life, then you will know all the extra care that has to be taken. This is a light-hearted look at what this entails.

Mobility

When you get old, you can’t walk so well, or so fast! Be patient with your elderly. They’ll get there in the end. You could occupy your mind during the infinitely slow walk (I mean dodder!) by computing pi to 100 places; or my favourite, calculate how many seconds till you’ll be back home and can have that first vodka!

They will have difficulty rising or sitting down. Just give them time. If they need a little assistance, you can wrap them in a towel to help them up. (See Incontinence below.)

Negotiating steps becomes very tricky. You could help your elderly by installing a metal railing for them to grab onto. Alternatively, you can make garden steps easier to walk up and down by adding extra stone slabs,  so the gradient out onto the lawn is reduced by half.

Watch out though, because as the grass grows, you will forget about that last small paving slab, and repeatedly trip up on it yourself!

Repetition

Remember that it may be riveting to the elderly to repeat the same thing over and over. They may tell you the same story for the 83rd time! Just grin and bear it. On those days when you really cannot grin any longer, tell them politely that they have already told you this story, so they can move on to one you have only heard 65 times!

Conversely, things you have told them 100 times, they will insist you never told them at all. Just smile patiently and calmly repeat whatever it was, bearing in mind that this too will be instantly forgotten, in favour of the latest gossip (now 3 months old).

Alternatively, if they are sniffing every tree for five minutes at a time, tell yourself that it is like you watching a Keanu Reeves’ movie, and let them sniff to their heart’s content!

Sleeping

The elderly have a strange relationship with sleep. They will tell you exactly how many hours they slept each night; when they went to bed; when they got up for the loo; when they went back to sleep; when they finally woke up in the morning. They will insist they do not get enough sleep, apparently forgetting the two hours that they snooze every afternoon after lunch.

It is pointless remarking, that what does it matter how long they sleep, or not. It is obviously of vital importance to them.

And they will take any opportunity to sleep bathed in the warm rays of the sun.

Mr SL 2

Mr SL 2

Hearing

Many elderly become a trifle deaf. (This is exacerbated by the custard they have in one ear, and jelly in the other!) Seriously though, they will insist that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with their hearing and it is all your fault for mumbling, or speaking in Japanese, (unless you are Japanese, of course,  in which case you will be accused of speaking Norwegian!)

Be patient with the elderly deaf; speak slowly and clearly; actually I mean shout! You will then be rewarded with the comment that they can hear you for once. You then proceed to shout at everyone else for the rest of the day, until you finally realise you are doing so, when you lose your voice.

Clapping your hands loudly may elicit a response. Clapping your hands while moving sideways is even better. They seem to pick up on this movement quite well.

Appetite

The elderly may go off certain foods, or just generally be more picky about what they eat. Just offer them small portions of what they fancy.

Throughout it all, it is important that they continue any medication they might be taking. Sometimes this involves disguising the pill, by smothering it in peanut butter. If they get even more picky and eat all the peanut butter while still leaving the tablet, you can try crushing the tablet, or opening up the capsule and sprinkling the contents on the rest of the food.

If they then leave all their food, because of a little medicine on it, it is time to change the meds altogether. (Note, watch out that other elderly (LM) does not sneak in and wolf up the left over food; meds and all!)

Incontinence

Yes, I know, most people do not like to talk about this little problem, but believe me, the elderly will talk about it at length and ad nauseum, to the exclusion of all other topics!

The sad fact remains, that as you age, control over your bladder and bowel movements deteriorates. The elderly may find the occasional damp patch becomes a river (hence the avocation for the use of a towel when lifting, see above.) If disposable adult nappies are not available, newspaper and plastic sheeting can be used to great effect. The newspaper can be regularly thrown away and the plastic disinfected.

Solid matter is more easily dealt with. Every morning my first chore, before even my coffee, is to de-poop the kitchen floor. Sometimes during the day, I may find additional presents left for me in the sleeping area. With great skill, all newspaper and plastic sheeting will be bypassed, and a little sausage carefully deposited on each of three mats, necessitating the maximum amount of sterilising and washing. Bless.

Mr SL 3

Mr SL 3

I ask you, does this guy look more than 10?

He is at least 14, maybe 15 or more. Dogs hide their ailments so well and never, never, never, never complain! I wish people would take a leaf out of their book.

And I hope I look this good, when I’m 102!!

 

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37 thoughts on “Taking Care of the Elderly

  1. Pingback: Absence | Mad Cap Dog

  2. Bun Karyudo

    What a well-mannered dog!

    Incidentally, I’m only 49, but some of those things you mentioned seem to apply to me already — although not the incontinence, thank goodness! It seems like whenever I tell a story about my childhood to my kids, they roll their eyes and say, “Oh, not this one again.” I’m worried that by the time I get to 102, my stock of anecdotes will be running on a more or less continuous loop.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. scifihammy Post author

      I wouldn’t worry – All kids do this to parents.
      My friend and I now preface a story with – “I don’t know if I’ve told you this . . .” to which the other replies, “You might have done, but I don’t remember!” 🙂

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      I wouldn’t mind so much if the stories were interesting to start with! I mean really old people had such a different childhood, and the war etc There must be tons of great stories there somewhere! 🙂

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      If you’re certain it isn’t a tape worm (needs more than one tablet to get rid of) or possibly cancer (and at 13, just keep her comfy and pain free)
      then my answer is –
      1.It’s colder weather so I feed my dogs more now
      2. Try changing her food (senior) – as she is old she may simply not be digesting it well and it just goes thro her and she is hungry again
      3. Give her rice with each meal – (cheap ) – and chicken pieces (easily digested) if you can
      4. But really, at 13, I’d just give her what food she wants.
      I’m not a vet – so I’d also ask their advice 🙂

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      Reply
      1. scifihammy Post author

        I hope it works. 🙂
        Tip – introduce the new food slowly, especially if it’s a different brand.
        eg 1st day 3/4 old food 1/4 new food
        2nd day 1/2 and 1/2 etc
        And good luck 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. blosslyn

    My oldest dog now is 7, follow by 3 year old, an 18 month old and tomorrow we are going to collect a 15 week old, who’s human mum cannot look after him, so in a way a rescue dog, saves a space in a shelter. The one before all of these was an 18 year old Yorkie and I felt he had been with me for ever. I had to help him on his way in the end, as his quality of life had gone, in a big way, so as long as there is quality, that they know where they are, the rest doesn’t matter. I think is a wonderful thing you do by looking after older dogs, it is not easy and my hat goes of to you 🙂 I know its a fun post, but it is also so very true and some times can also be very funny 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much for your support. 🙂
      It is hard at times with a very old dog, but as you say, as long as there is quality of life and no pain, then it doesn’t matter how old they get. – And you can see SL is perfectly happy!
      You are certainly going to have your hands full with 4 dogs! Good of you to take the puppy and save it from starting life in a rescue centre. Good Luck 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. blosslyn

        Thank you, I just couldn’t see Toffee go into a rescue centre, when you have three little dogs there is always room for a 4th. When we get him tomorrow I will do a post of them all 🙂 and yes SL looks well pleased with life 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Midwestern Plant Girl

    OMG what a great post!!
    Mr SL is such a handsome guy. I know old age is a b*tch. I’m having my own battles with it. Things creek and sputter now and I seem to get a new pill everytime I go to the Dr. 😷
    At least I’ve still been able to put my sausages where they belong… 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. scifihammy Post author

      hahaha Thank you very much Plant Girl. 🙂 I had a few trepidations after posting this, because even tho I clearly state it is a Fun post, there’s always someone who will take offence!

      Liked by 1 person

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