The Life and Needs of an Elderly

The subject of this study is Evgenia. She is an 86 year-old woman living in one of the Jewish Federation Apartments in New York. She is not a native of America. She came from Ukraine 16 years ago and she also lived in Israel for two years. Evgenia speaks and writes very little English but she is able to communicate whenever she has to.

She spent twenty-six happy years of her life with her husband. Unfortunately, he died of stroke at the age of 48. Though she was still young then, she never remarried. After all, her kids were always there for her and her grandkids always kept her occupied. She said that her family was indeed very supportive of her, even up to now.

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Evgenia has a daughter and a granddaughter who live here in America. She also has a son in Ukraine. She said that her daughter comes to visit her apartment once every week. When she does, she helps her with shopping.
At times, her daughter also drives her to dry cleaners and to her doctor’s appointments. She also helps Evgenia find the stuff that she can’t find. Evgenia needs some help at times with organizing her things because she is completely blind.
Evgenia became totally blind as a result of her Glaucoma. She was only 36 when she was diagnosed with the condition. To slow down the effects of the condition, she tried various forms of treatment for ten years. However, her condition did not improve.
When not one of her treatment plans seemed to work, she decided to undergo a surgery. In 1975, she had an eye surgery in Ukraine but to her dismay, the procedure only made her condition worse. She first lost her vision on the left eye. Overtime, she could no longer see with any of her eyes.
When she was 78, Evgenia learned that she has also developed Parkinson’s disease. However, she takes medication for her condition and noted that “It’s in control”. Evgenia also has Hernia but she explained that the condition hasn’t bothered her yet.
Although most people who have Evgenia’s conditions are bed ridden and dependent on aides, this adorable lady isn’t. In fact, Evgenia is very independent. She wants to do things on her own and she doesn’t like it when someone helps her. She walks by herself, makes her bed, and bathes and dresses by herself. She even cooks on her own.
Her condition doesn’t hinder her from reading for Evgenia knows brail. She reads a lot and on top of it, she also listens to books and tapes and answers crossword puzzles. She also knits a lot. She knits blankets, gloves, socks, hats, and more.
To know where and which colors she will use for her knitting, she keeps her knitting basket in order. She gets by with her daily living tasks because she always keeps her stuff set up in a certain way that she knows where things are and what they are. Evgenia still has a very good memory that she can rely on.
Elderly Care Set-up

I. The need to move
There are a variety of reasons why the elderly has to move away from his family. However, the most common reason is that the relatives are really incapable of caring for their elderly. Sadly, many people see the elderly as a burden. For Evgenia however, the case is quite different.
Before she was admitted in the Jewish Federation Apartments, Evgenia lived with her daughter. Her family, as stated previously, was very supportive of her. The problem was that she was not comfortable with the place.
Although she liked being around her family, she felt that she needed to be more independent. She noted that her daughter’s house was quite small. She described it as a “two-storey home with too many steps”, which is not favorable for someone who already had a hip replacement surgery like her.
The place also didn’t have a home phone. Since the home was generally not conducive for the life of an elderly, she often hesitated – and even felt afraid – to be alone in the house. What made things worse was that she had no privacy because she had to sleep in the same room with her granddaughter.
As such, Evgenia then told her family that she wanted to live on her own. Luckily, her daughter said that it was alright for she knew well how independent her mother was.
II. Independent living and the patient’s experience

Evgenia has been attending an adult day care, “Guilt Care”, even before she was living in the Jewish Federation Apartments. She goes to the day care at least five times every week. At the day care, she finds lots of things that she could do. Technically, it serves as a place for socialization and education.
There, she knits and lets people read crossword puzzles to her. She also listens to concerts and nurses’ lectures on how the elderly can take care of themselves. She meets with a dietician once a week as well.
When she decided to live on her own, she spoke with the social worker from the day care and asked for help. She was then referred to the Jewish Federation Apartments. This residence is open to the elderly, aged 62 years old or older.
To be a tenant, Evgenia had to complete an application, furnish the requirements, and then have her request stamped and placed on the waiting list. At that time, she didn’t have Medicaid/Medicare and SSI.
However, with the help of the social worker, she was able to get the insurance and the SSI qualifications. After a year and a half being on the waiting list, she finally got an apartment of her own.
Now, Evgenia has been living in the apartment for a decade. She said that she is very happy there. Living in independent living community has some built-in benefits. The first of which was the fact that there are many seniors with whom Evgenia can socialize with.
The second was that the features of the apartments were specifically designed to fit the security, comfort, and safety needs of the elderly. What Evgenia liked more about the Apartments was that it has a huge community room where different kinds of activities are initiated – from daily exercises to parties. Evgenia loves to play Bingo on Thursdays.
Since the Jewish Federation Apartments is an independent living community, the place does not have a 24/7 medical support service, nor does it provide regular custodial care for the clients. The place is just exactly what Evgenia wants.
Since she can take care of herself, she only requires her nurse aid to come only twice a week for four hours plus 15 minutes every morning on weekdays. Her daughter also visits her.
III. The care an elderly needs

a. Caring for the patient with glaucoma

Evgenia’s total blindness was the result of her glaucoma. Treatment against Glaucoma can prevent visual loss, but that only happens if the condition is just at its very early phase. Although Evgenia had undergone treatment, perhaps she only did when her condition was already at an advanced state. Unfortunately, the damage caused by this condition cannot be reversed.
In general, people with glaucoma may experience depression and anxiety. The loss of vision can render many people helpless and that is why they may need to have a companion always. In the case of Evgenia however, she was able to overcome her impairment.
Since she’s smart, she learned brail so she can continue to read. Her sharp memory and her “orderliness” with her things also compensated for the sense of sight that she lost.
While most people who are blind need utmost care and help, Evgenia doesn’t. What she needs is some encouragement which she can gain from meeting and talking to other seniors who also have glaucoma. Apart from that, her relatives and nursing aid can also help her with some household tasks.
b. Caring for a patient with Parkinson’s disease

Although Evgenia said that her condition is “in control”, it must be noted that Parkinson’s disease is chronic and progressive. So this means that it will persist over time and its symptoms will also grow worse. To understand her case and her health and physical care needs, below is a list of the symptoms that people with Parkinson’s disease can experience (From

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