Helping When a Friend is Diagnosed with a Chronic Disease

If an older friend or loved one is struggling with a serious illness, there are several fairly easy actions friends can take to provide caring and unforgettable support.

When a senior or boomer is diagnosed with cancer or another chronic disease, people wonder how to react. There are some reactions which are much more helpful than others.

When a friend has such an illness, the whole family is shaken. Any support given to anyone in the family helps the patient also.

What the Senior or Boomer Patient Has Just Gone Through

It all may start with a phone call from the doctor’s office saying more tests are needed. After that, the results are questionable requiring maybe one more test. Then there’s a conference where the patient is told to bring the spouse.

It’s the C word – cancer, or some other serious illness. One only has to imagine the terror and roller coaster of emotions the family must feel.

Life is turned upside down with worries about money, isolation, life decisions, and caregiving.

All of these and more are on top of life-rending fatigue, grief, and pain. Helplessness and hopelessness are the worst issues to be dealt with upon receiving a troublesome diagnosis.

Good Things to Say to a Senior Diagnosed with a Serious Illness

It usually is not enough just to say “Call me if you need anything” since the patient is not in a condition to organize needs and make phone calls.

Engage the patient and/or family in short conversations. There will be tears; there must be hugs and lots of listening.

Effective conversation involves staying in the present since anticipating the future struggles may only bring more anxiety. Share a snack, or just a moment and be aware of being alive right now.

In talking with the patient or family members, accept the fact that they are going through the stages of grief. Don’t argue with their logic; just lend an accepting ear.

Keep in mind visits need to be fairly short. It’s better to make two or three short visits rather than one long one. (The patient often won’t admit how very tiresome visits may be, even though such short check-ins are vitally needed.)

Especially after a few weeks or months, many well-wishers have returned to their normal lives, but the patient is still languishing and lonesome.

Visits at that time are especially cherished. In addition, sending cards, emails, and notes will remind the patient that his or her friend cares and is sending good thoughts.

Good Things to Do for a Senior Who is Diagnosed with a Chronic Disease

When the patient is home, even more support is needed, but still remember to keep visits fairly short.

▪ Take over a meal, doing the dishes while there, or take the trash as you leave if the meal is disposable. (Don’t worry about it being your best cooking; they don’t have time or energy to cook, and will be grateful for whatever you bring.)

▪ Run an errand.

▪ Take the kids for a movie, an afternoon, the weekend.

▪ Mow the yard, once or regularly, or band together with several others to do this, or contract with someone to do it.

▪ Take someone to the doctor, chemo, radiation, or whatever is needed.

▪ Give the caregiver a respite (e.g. tickets to a movie or spa while you stay with the patient).

▪ Stop by and play a game of cards, a board game, a favorite video game, or watch a movie.

▪ Take cookies or another favorite food, even non-perishable snacks for the family since kitchen duties suffer in most homes when chronic disease is present.

▪ Buy groceries once or regularly, or organize a church, work or social group to do this. For those who have email, the patient or spouse can email a grocery list and the shopper can deliver the groceries on a predetermined day, (One group who helped me when my hubby was bed bound called themselves The Saturday Shoppers.) There may be other people who don’t have time to do the shopping but would contribute to the cost. Find what works.

▪ Take a portable DVD player with several movies to help pass the long hours in bed. Get one started before you leave in case the patient is gushy about technology. You can also play a movie for the patient while you visit with the caregiver.

Tips for Helping Seniors When Weight Loss is an Issue

Sometimes people fighting chronic illness have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. Some patients are in a weight loss mode.

One way to help is to ask the patient or spouse what favorite foods are, then gather a large supply of them.

Be aware of the need for protein, and stay within the prescribed guidelines. Make up a snack box to put by bed or chair so it’s easily reachable by the patient, yet sealed enough to not attract bugs, etc. Include some hand wipes, bottled water, and a trash container within easy reach.

This can go a long way toward empowering the patient to feel more self-sufficiency while it will give the caregiver a break.

Being diagnosed with a serious disease is quite a challenge for any senior or boomer. There are ways to help by visiting, listening, and providing moral support.

Be proactive by acting on the senior patient’s behalf to make life easier by bringing food, doing chores, and sending cards. The very long path toward healing can be made so much better by caring and participation of friends.

If you live farther away or have to be at work, you may wish someone could stand in your stead.

Papa can match you up with college caregivers who can help in many of the ways listed above. Just an hour or so a day or two a week can make such a difference in the life of both the patient and the caregiver.

Papa may be just the idea you need to give your family member or friend much-needed support on a regular basis.

senior_woman and caregiver embrace

Supporting Senior Caregivers In Keeping Their Sense of Self

Older Caregivers Need Encouragement

Older adults who are caregivers, whether they are spouse or friend, can find themselves in a “cloak of invisibility” as they lose touch with their identity.

There are ways to help senior citizens who are taking care of a loved one.

At the end of a long day, they may be weary and overburdened. Some would say overwhelmed.

Yet no matter what the issues older caregivers deal with, it is vital for a senior caregiver to retain a sense of self. It may take some support and planning, but it can be done.

Challenges Faced by Senior Caregivers

When the senior caregiver is a spouse or otherwise clearly identified with the patient, people will sometimes accost the caregiver with questions.

They may ask, “How is _______? (the patient) or “Tell me how things are going with ____________? (the patient) and other similar questions and comments.

More and more conversations become only about the patient.

Although done with kindness and caring, the senior caregiver begins to feel invisible.

No doubt the patient needs attention and the kindness of others. However, these acts of caring can lead to an unexpected and unplanned consequence.

Harry Potter would call it a “cloak of invisibility.”

The caregiver begins to find the sense of self-slipping away.

Support groups and maintaining social connections including caregiver conferences may aid in dealing with this troubling phenomenon.

Friends in church or the community can offer to help at times in order to provide respite for the senior caregiver.

Early in the process of a senior’s long-term illness, it is quite appropriate to focus mainly on the patient.

However, there needs to be a point where the adrenalin-driven energy slows down and a routine set in which includes maintaining the health of the caregiver.

Some doctors contend that caregivers are at risk for a debilitating illness which can make them unable to care for the original patient.

This would underscore the necessity of achieving balance and health for this person who is caring for a senior who is ill.

Senior Caregivers Letting Go While Holding On

One of the greatest challenges of a senior’s caregiving journey is to hold on to what must be done while letting go of other things.

This may involve holding on to daily routines for the patient while revising social schedules and the usual habits of daily living.

It could be making the end of life plans while holding on to some pleasantness in lifestyle. Or it could show up as giving the best care possible while accepting certain decisions the patient makes like eating some foods which may not be nutritious but are deal-breakers as to living contentedly.

This letting go while holding on seems to be controlling what must be done while continuing to give the patient a degree of control of their own life and illness. Quite a challenge!

One way for friends and family to help senior caregivers keep their sense of self is to also ask “How are you doing with the sudden changes in your life?” or similar questions which include the caregiver in the content of the conversation.

Such inquiring about the caregiver too helps prevent that person from feeling invisible. Keeping connected with others is a vital “vitamin for the soul” of the senior caregiver.

Listening and encouraging can go a long way toward helping the caregiver maintain health and emotional identity.

This sense of self-enables this older adult, whose plate is already full of tasks, to find that breath of fresh air which helps keep seniors and others going in hard times.

Seek Help and Respite Options

Papa is finding ways to marry cutting-edge technology for scheduling, payments, and online security with the age-old yet essential desire of seniors everywhere for time, attention, and kind helpfulness.

This may be a good day to reach out for support in the caregiving journey.


Finding Dependable & Fun Assistance for Your Aging Parents

Whether your elderly parent needs someone to take a walk in the park, play a game of checkers with, or someone to do light housekeeping -- Papa has the perfect Papa Pal for the job.

Caregivers often want to devote more time to their aging parents, but due to their own work responsibilities, household chores, errands, and social activities, finding the time to do so is often quite difficult.

More often than not, senior citizens have friends who would love to help them out, but due to their own medical conditions, they no longer have the ability to drive or the energy to assist.

Finding dependable, attentive and fun assistants for your aging parent is now possible via our website.

Needs of Senior Citizens

As a caregiver for your elderly parents, it is likely that you can find the time to stop by for a visit with them in the evening or during the weekend or to call them a few times during the week.

But your love and moral support isn't the only need that they have.

Senior citizens with health problems tend to have frequent doctor appointments and these can be very time-consuming once you pick up your parent, wait for a lengthy time at the doctor's office, get prescriptions filled and then take your parent home.

Your parents also need to run errands that require that you go along, such as getting a haircut, banking, and shopping for groceries or their clothing needs.

All of these things are quite time-consuming and can wipe out your vacation time from work at a rapid pace.

Or the various errands can eat up all your free time during the evenings and weekends so that you never seem to find time to relax and wind down from your work day.

This can cause you undue stress, make you more prone to illness and resulting in a less than satisfactory quality of life.

How Papa Helps

Papa Pal member and Papa Pal

Papa has made it their mission to provide quality assistance to senior citizens by hiring young, energetic, responsible and attentive staff members to help out with many of their needs.

These Papa Pals are available at minimal prices to simply stop by your parents' home to make sure they are doing OK. They also do larger tasks, such as walking the dog and taking your parents for errands or doctor's visits.

The Papa Pal can do light housecleaning when necessary. All our staff members go through extensive background checks, which should provide you with peace of mind.

If your elderly parent is homebound, he or she likely miss the social aspects of his or her life. This includes time to socialize, attend church or other fun activities where they can interact with others.

Papa recognizes that this basic need is crucial to their mental and physical well-being, and enables you to hire a Papa Pal to go by and simply visit with your parent.

Whether your parent wants to reminisce by looking through an old photo album, needs a partner for a game of chess or help with a computer or cell phone, or just craves a friendly chat, the Papa Pal is there to provide the fun social time that is crucial to your parent's well-being.

We recognize that your aging parent is quite special to you and therefore, is special and important to us.

You can keep in close contact with us via our handy mobile app, a text or a phone call.

At Papa, you don't just hire an impersonal assistant to provide a necessary service, you hire someone who will interact and bond with your aging parent and become their true friend.


Best ways to help seniors aging in place

Being able to stay in their own home is important to many senior citizens. But this goal can get harder to accomplish as they get older and lose the ability to perform certain tasks. That doesn’t mean they necessarily have to move in with family or to a retirement home. It just means they need a little extra help, which you or other trusted adults can provide in the following ways.

Help Seniors Around the House

Many seniors aging in place eventually lose the ability to cook or clean, so they might need some dependable & fun assistance for your aging parent. If you live nearby and have a little time to spare, you can stop by regularly to straighten out their house and perform tasks like taking out the trash and doing the dishes and laundry. Dropping off precooked meals that will last a few days would be a big help, too, ensuring they’re not constantly ordering pizza or getting fast food every day because they can no longer cook. Of course, many people don’t have the time to perform these tasks for elderly loved ones on a regular basis, which is why you can hire a Papa Pal to do it for you as often as necessary.

Deliver Groceries and Other Necessities for Seniors

Your elderly loved one may need help keeping the essentials in stock. That includes everything from food and drinks to toilet paper and light bulbs. If you don’t have time to take your family member shopping once a week, a Papa Pal can do it as often as your relative needs. He or she can even help your loved one learn to use technology like Amazon to order household goods and groceries.

Make the House Safer for Seniors

If you want some peace of mind as a loved one ages in place, you should ensure the environment is safe. This is as simple as installing support rails in the bathroom, such as next to the toilet and shower. You can even install toilets, counters, and sinks that are a little higher so your elderly relative doesn’t have to bend very far to use them. Adding extra lighting and making sure floors are not slippery can also help keep your loved one safe while aging in place. And of course, you can hire Papa Pals to check on him or her frequently if you’re ever worried about safety at home.

Provide Social Opportunities for Seniors and Caregivers

Staying social is an important part of aging in place since seniors can easily get depressed when they have no contact with the outside world. Your loved one would likely appreciate you and other adults visiting often, even just to talk and especially to listen. You can also set up outings, such as to local stores, the mall, movies, and restaurants. But you don’t have to be your relative’s only friend. In fact, it’s important to ensure they make other friends who share similar interests. You can help with this by signing up your relative for a local senior center and making sure they have a ride there on a regular basis. In addition, Papa Pals can provide transportation to social activities, and they also serve as a new friend to talk to when your loved one is feeling lonely.

If you live far away from your aging loved one, or you simply don’t have time to regularly check in, you can still provide quality care by hiring someone to perform these helpful tasks. At Papa, we’re happy to provide on-demand personal help to seniors aging in place. Papa Pals are enthusiastic, friendly and able to help with everything from grocery shopping and cooking to transportation and good conversation. Contact us today to schedule a Papa Pal to offer the help your loved one needs.

Senior with Camera

How Papa works

On-demand assistance. Senior care, and caregiving. Help with seniors. Personal assistance for seniors. Concierge for families.

Papa works different than traditional services. We make it incredibly simple to access, request, and manage the experience. Our main focus is to offer personal assistance and socialization to seniors and their families. Papa allows for extreme flexibility and does this in a super affordable way. You can request Papa Pals same day or far in advance. Visits can last 15 minutes or the entire day. You don’t have to plan, we are always available to you. The Papa Pal will stay with your senior loved one for as long as you need.

It’s quite simple. You can go to our website, mobile app (iOS and Android), text, or call us. We make access to services easy for any age group or technical capability. We often have family caregivers request services on behalf of their senior family member. We also frequently have seniors request services for themselves. Once you are set up in the system, which take about 5 minutes, you are ready to go!  Any time you need services, just confirm you location, date and time, and needs and we will confirm your Papa Pal. Your credit card information is securely stored so that you don’t have to worry about adding information every time you want services. If you have a recurring visit, it’s very easy to notate that in the system or to our team. There is no minimum, no contract, and no hassle!

Some members want to choose a Papa Pal, some want to use a different Papa Pal every time. This is all welcomed. We want to make you and your family feel extremely comfortable with our service. We assign a Community Manager to you and your family for any questions or to help you schedule visits. You will have a dedicated contact that you can reach out to directly for any needs. Even if you don’t need services and just want to ask questions or your family member wants a chance to talk with our team, we welcome that! Our Community Managers are also available for a great conversation with you or your senior loved one. Maybe you don’t want a Papa Pal that day, but want to have a quick conversation with someone, not a problem.

We believe transparency and communication is key to an incredible experience. So we allow you to communicate with the Papa Pal in the way you feel most comfortable – phone, text, or video.  If you would like to join the first visit, we encourage you, your senior loved one, and the Pal to all spend time together. Our priority is you and your family.

Once the visit is confirmed, a Papa Pal will arrive at the location and complete the requested services on the scheduled date and time. 1 day prior to the visit, the team will confirm if you need anything specific and you will be able to start communicating with your Papa Pal. During the visit, you will have full communication capabilities with your Papa Pal and your Community Manager. After the visit, you can rate your Papa Pal and provide feedback. If you really enjoyed your Pal Pal, you can favorite them and they can be made available to you for future visits. We will even notify you when they are in your area to make it very easy to request them!

Pricing is simple too. We price services based on several factors including, length of visit, time of day, required services, and more. If you just need someone to check-in on your senior loved one, that will be about $10. If you need someone to take your senior loved one to the doctor, the grocery store, and lunch, that will be about $50. Prior to requesting, we will confirm the estimated fee. Visit fees range between $18 – $25 per hour but are charged only based on the time your senior loved one spends with your Papa Pal.

So please, give us a call, text us, email us, or download the app today!