When Someone You Love is Dying

Every human life comes to a close.  Intellectually, we all know that.  At that level, it’s just a fact.  Death happens.

We’ll all end up as a little piece of history.  That doesn’t take on any real meaning until we’ve actually bumped up against it.  Even then, it can be pretty tough to open ourselves to the inevitable.

We can’t point to a place in history to exclaim, “See?  Here’s one.  No Death!”

It seems that some aspects of opening up to our mortality just naturally want to be placed on hold.  Recognizing that someone we love or care for is nearing death remains at serious odds with other complex emotions.  It’s awfully hard to imagine, “What if this is it?” We naturally want to hold hope that this isn’t “it.”

What isn’t hard to imagine is how you can be supported through that.

Whether a family caregiver, a friend, or someone supporting a family, knowing how to serve in that capacity goes a long way to reduce anxiety.  Recently, Lincoln Home offered community education on Sharing the Care.  It’s an amazing way to build a team of supporters in a short period of time.  Whether for a pending death or to help someone through a rough patch with their health and recovery, having proficient skills in basic care-giving can be a saving grace.

It’s inevitable. When you’re called upon to provide care for someone who means a lot to you, a care-provider class will give you valuable skills and confidence.

After-Death Care

Believe it or not, this is an important piece for connecting with your loved-one and healing loss.  Check out the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maine for information on after-death care and making home funeral arrangements.

Walking Assistance or Injury Waiting to Happen?

walking assistance: To Use or Not to Use? That is the Question

I sometimes feel surprised by how often I encounter a senior who doesn’t want to be seen in public with a cane or a walker.  Some associate the need for walking assistance with disability and frailty.  Others see canes and walkers as representing weakness or vulnerability.  Still others think these devices are just too clumsy to lug around.  Or too ugly.  Or both.

Let’s face it.  They are kind of clumsy.  And kind of ugly.  Maybe they are also kind of necessary.  Or maybe not.  The truth is, the jury is still out.  Some research supports the use of walking assistance equipment like canes and walkers, advocating stability and fall prevention.  Other research points to  how these tools can contribute to trips, falls, and serious injuries, especially when used incorrectly.

whether injury or age related, walking assistance equipment can be used safely and effectively

Sometimes complete recovery from an accident, injury, or surgery is not possible. You may have a health condition permanently affecting your legs, balance, or coordination. It may be a good idea to consider walking assistance in these instances.

Consider asking your physician for a physical therapist consult to determine what will be appropriate for your needs, lifestyle, and home environment.  It isn’t enough to buy a cane or walker at a local drugstore or shopping center.  A proper assessment will help you identify which device is best for you and how to fit it properly. Most importantly, learning how to use the equipment correctly will prevent it becoming the cause of a potentially serious injury.  It’s not as easy as you might think.

Walking equipment supports the following functions:

Greater stability and balance because of the wider support base.

Aid your walking pattern in terms of speed and stride.

May help maintain an upright body posture and weight distribution, which in turn increases confidence in walking ability.

Could help reduce pain in back and joints caused by over-compensation when walking without assistance.

Increases confidence in ability to move around safely.

This Medline article outlines the safe use of a walker.  Be certain to consult your physician or physical therapist prior to making a purchase.  You’ll want to feel assured in selecting which is best suited to your needs.