Do you see us, America? Do you hear us, are you reading our message? We are gently trying to shift your focus this time of year, build safety in caregiving, and to call you into action.
Each year the well-meaning folks in the senior and chronic care industry seem to enter into a campaign during the late fall and early winter. We are aware that you are becoming aware. We know that you are seeing changes in your loved ones.
Yes, it’s the time of year that you’ve likely gathered with your family for the Thanksgiving holiday and experienced on some level a change of a loved one’s well-being. And the changes are not only in them. I submit to you that the change is in you, too.
Perhaps you may only be vaguely aware that something is different, or maybe not quite right. There is a sense that things have somehow changed, something just below the surface or that you just can’t put a finger on. You just GNOW.
GNOW is my word for that not-quite-there can’t-get-in-touch-with-it I-can’t-shake-this what-is-this feeling. Something is GNawing at you, and you knOW it. GNOW. As in How Do We Really GNOW Our Parents Are OK? Something is at play.
Along with your GNOW-ing you may be witnessing differing reactions from your family.
Perhaps one sibling is “jumping up and down”, vehemently signaling that things are wrong. You’re either in agreement with them or not. In my family’s case I was the “jumper”, and my sister was the “afford Dad his honor and decision”. We were both valid. We each wanted the very best for Dad but we simply had different ways of getting there. (And that was OK, at some point we gelled and everyone moved forward).
If change smacked you in the face during your last family gathering then there may be no denying it. Maybe it was bad, really bad. Dwight arrived for the holidays to find his mother in a daze. She was having real difficulty planning for the holiday meal, getting groceries in and he found himself in the middle of several of the warning signs he’d read about. The “signs your parents may need help” became his reality.
No matter where you are with changes in a family member know this: Folks in my industry, and I dare say all of the elder care industry, are trying gently inviting you to acknowledge and to participate in the change. (It’s OK, there is remedy here).
Think about it. Did you notice that beginning around Thanksgiving all the blogs and articles were about “what to look for when you’re visiting Mom and Dad”?
When online nowadays are you seeing ads for home care appearing in the sidebars? Take a look now; notice their presence or the sponsored ads in your Facebook feed. Have you been watching television commercials or programs sponsored by some of the big names in health care?
Somewhere between Thanksgiving and mid-December there’s a subtle shift from the “what to look for” over to the “how to talk”.
This occurs when the Adult Children of aging parents who gathered over Thanksgiving are confirming and denying what they’ve encountered. They may or may not agree on their perceptions of the needs at hand. After all, someone could be jumping up and down and somebody can just GNOW.
Several may enter into a bit of due diligence. They are responding to blogs, ads, and they are beginning to research. How about we just Google “case management in Durham NC” or “senior housing in Raleigh NC” or “how to find skilled nursing in Cary NC”? (My company, NAVIGATE NC, comes up in searches like these, and we can assist with those items and more).
As Professional Advocates we too are responding to the holiday seasons. We’ve published guides for talking, and Talking-Planning-Communicating are the meat of our presentations and the focus of our outreach. People want to know how to start conversations, or how to navigate the tough parts. We are having conversations with family members about how to bring it up conversations such as moving, what to do if Mom balks, or how to shift from The Now (which can be pretty scary in itself) to Long-Term for planning. Families want to know how to bring all the members along and get everybody on the same page.
Our industry is hard at work to provide information, to enable communication, and to build safety as families begin to address change. Every year at this time we see a definite uptick in the number of families calling to inquire about services.
To everyone at this time of year we wish to emphasize three things:
First, all this is normal (and we want it to become really normal). Change will occur. Learn how to talk, get comfortable with talking, and plan to talk more often.
Secondly, we want you to take full advantage of our complimentary consultation. Our initial conversations are always at no cost to you. We will set a dedicated time to speak with you so we can both focus on the matter at hand. We’ll talk about your concerns, answer questions and help you to know how we’ve assisted other families with similar matters. (And we are ready to help you, also).
Third, there is real benefit in responding to change. Whether you are jumping up and down or whether you simply GNOW, most folks tell us that they feel a great sense of relief even within their first conversation with us. They are gladly embracing the fact that there are solutions to their needs.
Bolstered and affirmed, families are helped to get past all the funny feelings as they pursue that most special place: stepping out of the problem and into the solution. This is the great gift of action.
Now that you GNOW about our gentle intent we can help you to step into the solution. We invite you to set a complimentary initial consultation. Call NAVIGATE NC at 919.628.4428 or CONNECT WITH US on our website, www.navigatenc.com.