Ten Commandments Concerning Elderly Disabled Persons

1. Put things back when you visit.
Everything needs to be in its place.  It’s too hard to have to hunt for something.

2. Keep the doors as you found them.
If a door is shut, make sure it is SHUT when you leave that room. If the door is OPEN when you
get there – make sure it stays open. This includes all cupboard doors. There is always a reason.

3. Call first if you want to visit.
It may be a bad day and it’s too hard to put up a front – or there may be other visitors and too
many at once is not good.

4. Looking for a gift?
Your time is always the best gift. Offer to take them to lunch, a ride in the country, to a near-by
body of water, window shopping at a mall or a favorite place. Spend quality time, asking questions
about their early life, work or war experiences, hobbies or interests. If you must purchase some
thing, make it disposable. Candles, if they would be appreciated and can be used safely, perfumes,   aftershaves,  good quality lotions, healthy food items, a subscription to their favorite newspaper or magazine. A plant. Put some thought into it and you will come up with something good!

5. Ask them what they need help with.
Do their faucets leak?  Do they need their laundry done? The carpet cleaned? The windows washed? The front porch swept? Be prepared to receive a “no” answer, but persist. They may be too embarrassed to accept your help but need it very badly.

6. When you telephone, ask if they are busy.
They may be watching a favorite TV program or have company.  They probably spend long hours alone and have established a certain routine that is rude to make them break.

7. Allow them to retain their dignity.
Be sure not to talk “down” to them or act as if they aren’t up to par mentally. They may not be, but try to ignore it and carry on a normal conversation, speaking clearly and in a bit louder tone if the person appears to be a little hard of hearing.

8. Remember each day can be different and must be treated as such.
One must “play it by ear” when you come to visit. Sometimes they will be exhausted or ill. Don’t stay too long unless specifically invited to do so.

9. It may be beneficial to play “remember when…” if you are a close friend or family member.
That will draw a person out of themselves and bring a smile as they look back on better days.

10. Take pictures/videos – with permission – and make sure to send them a copy.

Give them pictures of your self and/or your family. Encourage them to write their memoirs.
Tape or video their stories, you’ll be so glad to see them and hear their voices after they are
long gone.

Enjoy the old folks while you have them.

See you next time,

Shalom, Sharaka

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