Keeping In Touch Solutions
Sharing is Caring!
caregiver support for aging parents

How to Treat the Aging Women in Your Family

Have you ever had one of those periods when events came together in just the right way to give you real insight? Well, if you haven’t – pay attention because someday it will happen to you; and if you have, you will appreciate that you are not the only one!

The major event was that an elderly aunt lost her partner. At 84-years-old, she was at their home in Florida when Joe died, but his desire was to be returned back to Indiana to be buried. This woman, Doris, had never taken care of any of the household or financial business, nor had she ever flown in an airplane. She was at a loss and alone in Florida. Joe and Doris were not married, but had been together for decades.

The second event was a phone call from Debbie. She is a sandwich generation professional woman in her mid-50s who called me at Keeping In Touch Solutions. In our conversation Debbie explained that her widowed mother had always been very independent and capable, but she had recently gotten involved with a “charity” and had started to “donate” money to the group on a regular basis. Debbie was worried that Mom was getting scammed and wanted help with the situation as well as how to talk with her mom about it.

There are no stereotypical older women who live alone – and there are no one-size-fits-all ways to step in and help them. I wish there were, but I love the fact that every aging woman has her own personality, strengths – and challenges. After all, that’s what makes us human, isn’t it?

So, the convergence of these events over the course of a couple of days gave me the following insights:

About Aging Women

  • Vulnerability comes not just from age, but from how we lived life. By that I mean that there are many aging women who have lived most of their adult lives without any knowledge or concern of the business of life – even if they worked in a job, professional or otherwise. In many instances their partners handled everything from paying the bills, to savings and insurance. When there was a problem with their home, the partner arranged for repairs. The partner determined what insurance was needed, how much, and set up payments for it. In other words, the business decisions were made by someone else. So when the partner leaves, by death or divorce, an aging woman is left on her own, unprepared to take care of the business of life. Does this describe anyone you know?
  • Good hearts and kind souls are susceptible to the dishonest. Again, this is especially true of older women who are left on their own alone. You know these women – there are scores of them in your community. There are probably several in your own family. They have been caring mothers and friends who have helped innumerable people through the years. They are nurturers and givers. They are quick to offer a hand or a casserole to friends and neighbors. But, as they reach into the sixth, seventh and eighth decades of their lives and they are alone most of their days, they become the targets of unscrupulous people. They are “befriended” and then taken advantage of – either financially or otherwise. Does this describe anyone you know?

These are just two of the insights that have taken human form this week in Doris and Debbie’s mom. But this situation is all too common and we have to be aware of it. We can’t change aging women – they are who they are, but we have to help them help themselves and provide assistance in protecting themselves and their assets.

About starting the conversation

It doesn’t matter whether your aging lady was an independent professional woman or a homemaker most of their lives, she, more than likely, wants to be viewed as independent and capable. So when the topic of conversation comes around to diminishing life skills, hackles go up and she is defensive and maybe even combative. How do you work with that? Let me give you a few suggestions:

  • Start the conversation early. Begin talking about “the future” and what will make it better and brighter for her before the need arises. Discuss the benefits of having someone in to help with the housecleaning and a transportation service so she doesn’t have to worry about car maintenance and expense.
  • Use current situations to make a point. As her friends and neighbors are aging, their situations and needs can be the stepping off point to talk about the “what ifs” that can happen in her life. It could pertain to legal papers – a will, power of attorney or living trust. Or it could involve her financial and business life; is there anyone else named on her bank accounts, are the beneficiaries current? It could also be in regard to living situations and health needs. Does she have a plan?
  • Make it about her peace of mind. You can be assured that she is just as worried about the future as you are. Approach the conversation as a way to develop a plan – with her desires being the primary driver. What does she want? What is she prepared to handle? Then go about working together to make a plan that will put her desires into motion if a need arises. That will bring her peace of mind – and give you some, too.
  • Be involved, but don’t take over. She wants to be the one in charge, or at least most aging women don’t want to relinquish the “leader of the pack” role she has had most all of her life. What you can do is gift her with services and help before the assistance becomes a necessity. For example, a monthly housecleaning or a meal delivered once a week from a local restaurant. Once she gets accustomed to having someone help with various things, she might like the idea of having more help as she ages.

When emergencies strike unexpectedly is not the time to try to reorganize the routine of life, especially for the aging. That’s part of the reason that I founded Keeping In Touch Solutions, Love My New Freedom, and Senior Fraud Alert. Not only does each one meet a need of aging adults, they are all proactive, non-intrusive, and proactive.

Aging doesn’t have to be the problem. In fact, aging is just another stage of our lives. Let’s stop treating it like it’s a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be.

A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.

Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.

diana beam

I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.

For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.

 

 

Let Keeping In Touch Solutions help you!