Zelda, a vibrant 85-year-old with a sharp wit and a love for gardening, had always been fiercely independent. However, her daughters, Xenia and Yolanda, noticed subtle changes over the past year. Zelda’s once immaculate house was becoming cluttered, and she seemed to have less energy for her beloved garden. They also found expired food in the refrigerator and noticed that Zelda was losing weight.

Xenia and Yolanda knew their mother needed help, but the mere suggestion of a housekeeper or meal delivery service was met with resistance. “I’ve taken care of myself all my life, and I don’t need anyone to tell me how to run my house or what to eat!” Zelda would retort.

The sisters were concerned, but they understood Zelda’s pride and desire to maintain her autonomy. They started researching ways to support their mother without undermining her independence. Their neighbor mentioned Aging Life Care Management® – a holistic approach that helps older adults and their families navigate the challenges of aging. They knew that their mother wanted to stay in her own home and they learned that care managers like to focus on keeping the aging person in the living environment they desire if at all possible. They thought they could get their mom to consider the service if she understood the goal was to help her stay in her own home if at all possible.

Intrigued, Zelda gave Xenia and Yolanda her agreement that they could reach out to us. During the initial visit, they discussed Zelda’s situation and their concerns. We listened and were able to offer a couple of suggestions that could help immediately. Xenia and Yolanda thought a more thorough visit with Zelda would be a good idea and it seemed that Zelda connected with my colleague as they were both avid gardeners. When we asked Zelda if we could return, she voiced immediate agreement and the hope to share some more  gardening ideas with my colleague.

At the end of the visit we made sure to explain that our Aging Life Care Managers® are certified professionals who specialize in assessing an individual’s needs and developing a personalized care plan. We can help with everything from coordinating medical appointments and managing medications to arranging transportation and finding in-home care providers.

Most importantly, we understand the importance of listening to and working with older adults. With our understanding of the emotional and psychological complexities of aging we can focus on helping families navigate difficult conversations with compassion and sensitivity.

The more we met with her and showed that we were listening and working on her behalf, the more her skepticism reduced and she softened to her initial concern about having a “stranger” involved in her life. The key to this success is our approach of compassion and empathy with a focus on empowering her and including her in every decision. Her initial concern that we were brought in to help her family make the decisions about her life without her input. That was never the situation or intention of our work with her and the daughters.

Over time, the relationship with Zelda matured and we were able to help her immensely. She would tell us how much she appreciated the care manager’s non-judgmental approach and willingness to listen to her concerns. Our care managers helped Zelda create a schedule for household chores, organized her pantry, and we arranged for a weekly meal delivery service that catered to her dietary preferences.
With our support, Zelda’s quality of life improved significantly. Her house was cleaner, her meals were healthier, and she had more energy for her hobbies. Most importantly, Zelda felt empowered and in control of her life, even as she received the assistance she needed.

Xenia and Yolanda were relieved and grateful for the expertise and guidance. They realized that their initial approach of directly suggesting a housekeeper or meal planner had been counterproductive. By introducing the Care Manager, they found a way to respect their mother’s autonomy while ensuring her safety and well-being.

Zelda’s story is a testament to the power of Aging Life Care Management® in helping older adults and their families navigate the challenges of aging with dignity and grace. If you’re facing a similar situation with your loved one, consider reaching out to an Aging Life Care Manager® in your area. They can provide the support and resources you need to ensure your loved one receives the care they deserve while maintaining their independence.

Read the ABCs from the beginning:

Read Previous ABC Blogs – A & B Accessibility & Balance

C, D, & E – Community, Decision Making, & Emotional Well-Being

F is for Finances and G is for Guardianship

H is for Healthcare, I is for Independence, and J is for Joy

K is for Knowledge and L is for Legacy

M is for Medication Management, N is for Nutrition, O is for Organization, and P is for Physical Activity

Q is for Quality of Life, R is for Resilience, S is for Safety

T is for Technology, U is for Understanding Aging, V is for Vision & Hearing, and W is for Wellness