Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Tip O' The Day

This tip is actually relating to a pretty serious topic - helping the elderly, even when they don't think they need it.

My grandparents' house was always spotless when I was a kid. Like eat off the floor clean. As she got older, my grandma relaxed a bit in her cleaning habits. However, when I went to visit my grandparents' house on Mother's Day, I saw how "relaxed" things had gotten.

My grandma is very frail (like she weighs 70lbs and has had several mini-strokes). My grandpa means well, but he's no housekeeper. They have TONS of stuff, most of which could be thrown away or at least organized and put in one of their spare bedrooms. Grandma can't keep house like she used to, but both of my grandparents have refused help.

Last Thursday, my grandpa was getting something for my grandma and he tripped over something and fell. Luckily his youngest brother was there and able to help him up. Grandpa said he was fine, but by Friday my uncle decided Grandpa needed to go to the ER to get checked out. Turns out Grandpa has 5-6 broken ribs, plus a huge scrape/bruise on his arm. Apparently his congestive heart failure has flared up, and now he's being kept not so much for the broken ribs, but for the excessive amounts of fluid around his lungs.

Now, while my grandpa has been known to fall down, and has fallen down several times recently, I believe this could have been avoided. If their house was kept up better, Grandpa could have been using his walker or at least his cane to help him around. He wasn't using it because there was no room for him to do so.

Now my mom and my aunts have decided to work on cleaning my grandparent's house. They hadn't done so before because my grandparents didn't want them to. I think maybe now they know that was not the best idea. Sometimes people don't realize when they are in over their heads.

I'm sure my grandparents don't like that they aren't as independent as they used to be. I imagine that maybe they might be embarrassed by the condition their house has gotten in. However, as a family, we should have never let their house get to that point.

That being said, my "Tip O' The Day" is to say that when you have elderly friends or family members, check up on them often. If you visit them and you see that they need some help around the house, take the initiative to see if you can help them. They probably won't ask. If they refuse your help, you might just have to risk them being mad at you because you need to help them anyway. They'll get over it eventually.


amanda said...


it must be hard to lose their independence; but it could make their days so much easier if they asked for just a little help.

my grandpa is in the hospital right now too.

Devin said...

You are absolutely right, and thoughtful as usual Julie. I am so sorry to hear about your Grandpa--I'll keep him in my prayers.