Oh my, "you're preachin' it to the choir, sister!" EVERYTHING you said is SO true! Dealing with the elderly (or even 'much younger than elderly') requires calmness, peacefulness, self-assuredness and all the other things you mentioned.
I was part of an "intake" team at at a major city Hospice for two years. When the receptionist would answer the phone and the caller would say..."My doctor (my mother's doctor, etc), just told me today that I should call Hospice and have you take over my health care; the doctor said I need to call you, so I'm calling you"...that's when she'd forward the call to me. Sometimes the doctor would explain to them what calling Hospice meant (as far as themselves or loved one being terminal and having less than 6 months to live), and sometimes the doctor would leave that heart-wrenching job to us (oh joy). I tell you what...you learn how to handle older folks in crisis on that job...and everything you mentioned is SO RIGHT!
Thank you for taking time to share that, and explain it all that so that it's understandable. I think everyone that has a parent should read & re-read and re-read your post a zillion times :)
She's been drinking 12, 12oz glasses of water a day for months, and I assured her that was VERY good (I'm thinking it's the only thing she's done that ever really helped much)...she's going to continue.
Donna, your post was great! (did I mention that?! lol) ...I LOVE this place!