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In today’s hurried world, it’s hard sometimes to slow down. With our elderly, we really need to do that. We need to not rush them. Today we’re gonna talk a little bit about rushing our elders and why we should avoid that.

Welcome to The Senior Circle, where we hope to inspire and help others by providing valuable, relevant information related to caring for an elderly loved one. Hi, my name is Dawn Neely and I’ll be your host. Thank you for joining us.

I have the opportunity to meet with many people that are looking for help for their loved one. I have heard many a woe from people that are growing weary of the responsibility of caring for someone elderly in their life. There is a certain level of patience, perception, and discernment that is required, I believe, when engaging with someone elderly that may be challenged physically or neurologically. We forget, sometimes, that our elderly might take a little more time to process things or they may not move as gingerly as they once did. This can cause us to feel hurried or impatient. I was speaking with the adult daughter of a prospective receiver awhile back and she shared an experience with me that really made me reflect. She shared that her mother had had help in the home before. And during that time, she had gone to her mother’s home and found that she was unusually sad. When she asked her Mom what was wrong, she answered quietly with, “She threw my sweater,” referring to her caregiver. It took a bit for her to get to the bottom of it, but it became clear after asking some questions.

Sometimes we are so hurried to get things done that we forget the small things. I’m sure that her caregiver didn’t aggressively throw the sweater or do it out of anger. Yet, even if she tossed it in order to hurry, in the eyes of the person she was caring for, she threw it. It may be a small thing, but it clearly made an impression and wasn’t small to her. Respect is something that can be shown in so many ways, especially for our seniors. This lovely woman was used to things being placed all her life, not tossed or discarded. She was a very intentional woman who had accomplished many things during her adult life. She was orderly and gave care to her actions. She was now less nimble. The smallest of things, such as getting ready in the morning took longer. But she still appreciated order and respect. The fact that someone, even if it was someone that was trying to help her, threw her sweater, was hurtful to her. She felt hurried, rushed, and probably even a little discarded herself.

This was a reminder to me that sometimes we need to slow down and remember that we can exude confidence, while giving comfort and showing compassion at the same time.  We can be helpful and supportive without rushing. We just need to be perceptive of our senior’s needs and put ourselves in their shoes, so to speak.

There are a few things that we can remember when helping our elderly that can help us in our efforts. Do not hurry with our older folks. They may have trouble following rapid-fire questioning or torrents of information. By speaking more slowly, you are giving them more time to take in and better understand what you are saying. Sometimes if someone feels rushed, they’ll feel that they are not being listened to or understood. They will also hesitate to share with us what might be on their minds for being fearful that they are taking too much of our time up or, representing a burden for us. Show empathy to seniors by responding to them and to their emotions. Use phrases like, “That sounds difficult,” or “I’m so sorry you are dealing with this, maybe I can help you to get through it.”

More than anything, just understand that we are all in this together. We are all gonna be there someday and whatever we can do today to invest in a better world can only help everyone in the long run. Be kind, be gentle, and if you are providing support to a senior, be patient. Seniors have so much to offer and give back, don’t ever miss an opportunity to be blessed by someone that has the ability to share their experiences and their heart. As the saying goes, stop to smell the roses, life is too short to miss it just to get to the next chore. I appreciate your time today. If you need help with a senior loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact Seniors Helping Seniors at 248-969-4000. We would be happy to assist you in any way that we can.

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