Assisting an Immobile Family Member

Steps to Make the Job Easier

Baby boomers caring for an aging family member who is immobile face special challenges. It can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. These tips can help make the job easier.

Learn everything about their condition
Learning about your parent’s condition makes it easier to understand changes in their personality. Catherine Ciarrocchi, who cared for her 93-year-old father and 84-year-old mother for two years in their home, noticed a change in her father’s personality. He often got upset or anxious because he didn’t understand what was happening around him, she said. “It was hard for him to accept that I had to take over,” Ciarrocchi explained.

Her father had limited mobility and Parkinson’s disease; her mother was caring for him until she fell and had partial hip replacement surgery and became immobile herself.

Ciarrocchi found two books helpful in understanding the change in her father’s behavior: When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents and The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss.

These books helped her realize his changing personality was a result of his illness.
“Instead of arguing with him or trying to change his mind, it really helped to understand that that was part of the disease,” Ciarrocchi said.

Article and Photography by Neven Jones

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