The family dynamics in caring for an elderly relative or friend can be quite intense.
You have an elderly family member who is suffering from malnutrition or is not safe in their current situation. What do you do about it?
Empower yourself with nutrition knowledge and confidence; then with humility, empower Mom and/or her caregiver. Creating a loving, caring, respectful, and trusting relationship will enable you to do this.
- My dad was in his mid 70’s when he was in congestive heart failure. He was unable to do the ranch work he loved. I suggested he try a specific supplement program that addressed the health of the heart. I basically laid it out in front of him and told him what it would cost. I told him I could not guarantee it would help him but I knew it would not hurt him. He told me he would think about it. The next morning he was ready to give it a try. Read “My Daddy’s Heart.”
My approach was not telling him what to do but simply giving him the facts and letting him make the choice.
- My mom-in-law (I call her Mom) was widowed for the second time at the age of 80. Larry and I had assisted her and included her in our activities since she was widowed the first time in 1969. Her health was relatively good but as I learned more about nutrition, I made suggestions to her about supplements that might benefit her as well as possible changes in her cooking and food choices. It was a long process but she gradually made changes to her diet and gradually started using supplements.
As I said, it was a long process but once she realized the benefits she was very faithful in taking supplements and was always asking me for advice about what to eat. She was able to live alone and take care of most of her personal needs until age 92.
- My mother was quite faithful to see that my dad took his supplements. However she was reluctant to spend the money on supplements for herself. It finally took me being firm with her and telling her she was worth the money. We loved her and wanted her to keep her health. Once she started taking the supplements, she was also quite faithful. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at age 91 that she was took any drugs, not even an Advil.
I had to be a little firmer with her to get her realize she was worthy of spending the money to take supplements.
- Back to my mother’s nutritional needs now. When she was diagnosed with lung cancer (the non-smoker type), she was living with my brother and sister-in-law. Thankfully they have been very open with me, seeking my opinion and advice about my mother’s nutritional needs.
My mother is still with us at age 93 although she is gradually failing in health. You can read what I wrote in July 2012 “Mama’s Cancer Journey – Prayer, Supplements, and/or Medicine?”
- My brother, age 74, lives alone on his little farm. He was sharing with me about his health concerns and the fact that he doesn’t always eat well. He would rather be out farming than cooking and cleaning the kitchen. I worked with him in creating a supplement plan for his particular health concerns. Then I shared some easy changes he could make to his current eating habits.
Again this happened because of love and respect from both of us.
As you can see from these experiences, each approach to nutrition changes needs to be different depending on the person’s personality and family situation. For the most part, I believe it is best to approach the family member with the facts. Sometimes you need to present the whole big program and sometimes suggestions need to be made a little at a time.
There are situations when you need to empower the caregiver. Whether the caregiver is a family member, a friend, a paid home health provider, or a nursing home type facility there can be concerns about your loved one’s nutrition needs. Again, approach them with respect and appreciation for what they are doing. Ask questions; make suggestions for improvements or changes with confidence. You can have that confidence by discussing facts and benefits. Interact and have a civil discussion not an aggressive argument. Create expectations.
- We maintained a healthy relationship with the nursing home staff where Larry’s mother lived from age 92 until her death at age 97. We showed our appreciation for all they did but also created expectations through conversations about her care. The staff knew we loved Mom and cared about her care.
I love hearing about those people who are 90 plus years still living in their own home, still cooking their own meals, and still able to drive or are capable of calling for transportation to social events, shopping, and to doctor’s appointments. I believe independence is the key to healthy aging. We should do everything possible to keep ourselves and our loved ones in a healthy independent environment.
On the other hand, there are the situations that Mom is no longer able to safely live alone. Family members squabble over what to do with Mom. Money can end up being a huge issue. Time required can be a big problem. Maybe a family member wants to take Mom in to live with them but doesn’t really have the ability or resources to do a good job. How does the rest of the family handle that situation?
Not easy questions to answer. You may not be able to answer these questions until the time comes. However, you do need to think about them and even discuss them in advance with other family members. Situations can change quickly. Open discussions in advance can eliminate misunderstandings in the future.
Yes, the family dynamics of elder malnutrition is different for every family. Proper advance planning can help but circumstances can change so be flexible, understanding, and considerate of all family members concerned. Work together for the best possible solution.
Empower yourself with nutrition knowledge and confidence; then with humility, empower.
Have you had an experience you would like to share? Please do so in the comments section below or contact me with questions.
A core nutrition supplement program:
Tre' – the essence of Super Fruit
NeoLife Shake – Healthier, more complete meal than Ensure!
Pat has been married to the same man for 52 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and grandma to 8 grandchildren. Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle. This grandma became interested in nutrition as a mother and for the past 27 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition. Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and dealing with major heart issues, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, her mother's stage 4 lung cancer, her mom-n-law's dementia, and others. Her goal is to empower the future health of others with wisdom, knowledge and common sense so they can have the BEST REAL HEALTH possible.
Partner Up with Pat in having the Best Real Health possible.
Only $69 to join with us and receive 2 bottles of Tre-en-en with your Distributorship (Retail value $82.90)
Typically $49 to join as a Distributor!
The Health and Wellness Revolution is here Now … The Home Business Revolution is here Now
Get Started Right Now! Join the New NeoLife Club!
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(All information on this blog site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information on this site has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.)
Copyright© 2014 Pat Moon – All Rights Reserved!