Matrix Home Care Experts Say Notice the Small Changes When Aging Fathers, Husbands Need Help
The modern day father is far different from our "generational" fathers who are now living well into in their 80s and 90s. And while the dimensions of fatherhood are ever evolving, it is never easy to have the conversation with Dad about his declining abilities and the need for extra help in the home.
"Dad was more than likely a traditional married man, both disciplinarian and breadwinner. His role as a father is one of pride and independence and not easy to give up as he ages," according to Janice Williams, CLTC, vice president, Matrix Home Care, a statewide service provider. Williams notes that as we age, many of us become less concerned with our own health care, especially men. "These fathers and husbands want to care for their ailing wife first and won't necessarily think they will need home care when the time comes."
Something as simple as allowing someone new into the family home becomes a difficult task from the male perspective. Living a long life after retirement can make a man feel irrelevant and without purpose. Aging can also take its toll by diminishing the once vital, physical power a man feels only to be replaced by weakness and the reality that his mobility has slowed.
Adult children should be sensitive to these signs according to Williams. "If you are an adult child of a widowed or divorced father, you have to start playing a pivotal role in your father's life as he ages," she says. "Even if there is a 'significant other' in his life, the health care role becomes yours and you should be on the lookout and notice any small changes."
Losing the ability to drive is a turning point for elderly men who may still be in denial about their capabilities maneuvering on the highways. While it is never easy, handing over the car keys may take more than a conversation with the adult child, says Williams. "A doctor or counselor could help break the news and Dad might be more open to taking their advice to heart."
When a parent begins to lose capacity, look for the small signs before they become big health issues. Williams encourages adult children go to the doctor with their father to learn what he is dealing with firsthand.
"Declining abilities take time to adjust to and offering Dad your strength and support will show you care even when you have to make the tough decisions," Williams adds.
SOURCE Matrix Home Care