Just aSK! What’s it all about?
We’ve reached that age – middle age I think they call it! Caught somewhere in the middle of trying to juggle work, home life, children / pets and the growing needs of elderly parents.
Dealing with children, tots to teenagers and beyond – there are loads of tips out there. Not always helpful of course but fairly easy to find. In social situations, it’s common place to laugh about our children’s antics, raise our eyebrows about their misadventures and ask for or dispense advice on how to deal with almost every situation.
Decorating the house, tending the garden, training the dog or buying a new car – all things that we choose or expect to do. There are books to buy, advice we can google, shops prominently offering solutions on the high street and magazines galore to peruse in a quiet 5 minutes for inspiration and help.
Supporting elderly parents or friends determined to maintain their independence (quite rightly) and maintain their dignity (a basic human right) is sometimes more challenging. It is not something that is clearly defined, it’s not a vast money spinner for commercial organisations, it’s not the content of a light hearted chat on social occasions and, in most cases, it’s not something we are ready for when it happens. The role reversal is in itself a bit of an emotional and mental adjustment but treading your way successfully through the complex world of social care, health care, financial support and housing issues whilst maintaining your sanity and a sense of humour (and the sanity and sense of humour of the elderly person) is an ambitious goal for even the most resilient of people.
Even as nurses working within health and social care organisations and navigating services for older people for very many years, we get confused, frustrated and overwhelmed by the complexity of the system. We have a head start though – we usually know someone who knows. We know where to start!
So, we thought we’d try and help by sharing our starting points with you too.
We hope that our blog, with articles from guest contributors from time to time and links to useful organisations and websites, will help answer some questions, maybe give you the right questions to ask and, most importantly, be a place for you to share with each other what works and what does not work. We hope that this will encourage you, empower you and support you to give your elderly friends and relatives the help they need to enjoy their twilight years and to continue to participate in family life and their local community.