There was a time in this nation, when senior citizens lived and died at home surrounded by loved ones. In the mid 1960’s, the great grandfather of some of my cousins, who was in his 90’s, was resigned to his bed for several years. Children and grandchildren willingly took care of his every need. I remember often going with my cousins into the bedroom to visit with “Papa”.
One evening I heard what appeared to be a wailing sound coming from my cousins house, which was about 60-70 steps from our home. In the county there were no houses in between, only trees, so sound carried. My grandmother informed me that what I heard was the family crying in unison, because “Papa” must have just passed away.
The viewing of his body was not in a church or funeral home, as is done today. Papa was laid out in that same bedroom, until his body was taken to the church for the funeral From that time, older Americans who are unable to care for themselves had only one choice, a nursing home. Today however, seniors have additional options.
There are many home health agencies that will send employees to cook, clean, bath and do laundry for older adults, who need help. If you care for an older adult at home, and have no one to watch the while you take care of business, consider a senior day care center.
You should be able to find listings for these services on the Internet or in the yellow pages of the telephone book. Dial 211 for information, if it is available in your area. They will be able to give you phone numbers for local services.
There are also assisted living facilities, for older adults who can still do some things for themselves, with a little assistance. My great aunt lived in one for several years, until she unfortunately needed full time nursing home care. This does not always have to be the case.
If an older person is unable to care for themselves, and are bound for the nursing home, please check with your local Social Services to see if there are any places that help prevent seniors from spending their final days in a nursing facility.
In Roanoke, Va., I was connected with Blue Ridge Independent Living. They have resources which help older adults to stay in their homes, rather than go to a nursing care facility. They were really supportive of my grandmother. Through this organization, my grandma received oxygen tanks, and oxygen supplies delivered to her house. She also received adult diapers in the mail,
They helped her get signed up for Meals on Wheels, which brings one hot meal, to qualifying adults between 1000-12:00 noon, Monday through Friday. My grandmother also found out about Soup fr Seniors, which brings senior citizens a large box of soup crackers an canned goods once a year.
Blue Ridge Independent living had my grandmother’s dilapidated front porch turned into a a new porch with a handicap ramp. They also told me of a program where relatives could get paid, the same as home health care providers, to .assist the elderly at home, and keep them from living in a nursing home.
I was paid to care for my grandmother in her home the last two years of her life. I believe her being surrounded by family, including great grandchildren helped her to live to age 91. Prior to becoming immobile, y grandmother was babysitter for all 3 of my children.
Another agency that helped her, and may benefit others is the local LOA. This used to stand for the League of Older Americans. Now it is the League on Aging They will have resources that help you obtain the desired help for the senior in your life.