By Marni McDuff
I often wonder what Thomas Jefferson was thinking when He said, “Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.” What was he considering putting off? What did he put off and regret? Maybe you have heard this quote from an unknown author: “The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow.” And my favorite from Napoleon Hill: “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
We are all guilty of procrastination in some way, shape, or form. While you are reading this I am sure several items are popping in your head that need to be accomplished or addressed today, but you have struck a deal with yourself to complete it when the timing is right and today is not that time. I’m preaching to the choir, believe me.
There are times in our lives when putting something off for a few days, or even a week, is okay. Like cleaning the bathroom or organizing your garage or closet. I will be the first to say that someday I will get to it. Some tasks require a certain type of energy or mood to get the job done. But when it comes to making sure a senior is safe and not in harm’s way, that certainly requires immediate attention.
While working in the senior industry over the last ten years, I have all too often seen families waiting too long to move their loved one, looking for the right moment—procrastinating, one might say, at the expense of their loved one’s health and safety. I have heard heartfelt cries saying,
• “we need to figure out how and when we can sell the house first,”
• “even though she has had two or three recent falls, I think she will be stronger in a week or two,”
• “I work so much and don’t know when I will have time to figure this out.”
• “yes, they need to move, but so hard because they have lived in their home for fifty years and want to stay.”
I empathize deeply with the decision makers and family members that have to push through. Transition is never easy when you are in the midst of watching your aging parents, friends, or loved ones decline. The issues and obstacles are real and will continue, as will the aging process. However people will fail and fail fast because they are not receiving adequate nutrition, regular medications and personal care. This can be avoided if you have a team of individuals who can advocate for you and your loved one.
I had the privilege to work with a family some time ago who came to us when their mother’s dementia had become to much for them to handle. It became more apparent to them as they saw the decline in her daily routine. The family worked full time and also had a busy parental role. They had promised their dad before he died that they would care for mom as long as they could.
They would notice little things when they came home. She would often forget to eat and started losing weight. They would find the food still in the wrapper or partially eaten and a trail of crumbs in strange places. They noticed she was staying up later each night and sometimes would be irrational about why she should go to bed. She would turn on the TV really loud because she was hard of hearing. The medication they set up was untouched and then sometimes they would find the pills on the floor or in her chair. There were increased reactions and side affects to the missed medication resulting in numerous falls. She began calling the daughter at least ten times a day to ask where something was or to say “hi” and share that she was lonely. She would say, “why don’t you ever come see me.”
Many of these behaviors went on for many months. What sent them over the edge was her crying spells and coming home day after day to a personal hygiene issue that took several hours to clean up. They knew it was time to make a change. After we moved their mom to a wonderful home, they came back to me and said, “Why did we wait so long? She is so happy. She has new friends a great care staff. They are cueing her regularly and have eyes on her at all times. I don’t worry about through out the day if she is safe or not. We should have done this sooner.”
Be encouraged and know if you are reading this and know you need to consider some options, recognizing that is the first step. Concierge Care Advisors can support you and your loved one right where you are today. You don’t have to put off inquiring about safe options, planning for the future or finding resources for your loved one or yourself. We are here to take the pressure off and do the leg work for you.
So remember, “tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” So make today count and lets get started.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net