After you read this article by Christine Cottogio and plan your visit with your elderly parents this holiday season, take note of differences between last years and this years visit. After you compare and notice any changes, contact Raleigh Geriatric Care Management (www.rgcmgmt.com) for information on getting assistance. The geriatric care manager will guide you through the myriad and often confusing resources for elder care with a full assessment and care plan. Ask for your FREE Vial of Life Tool Kit.
It’s that time of year again! There is no better time of year! Families coming together to celebrate the holidays. A time to celebrate and enjoy the best things in life– each other!
Many families will be travelling great distance to visit their parents. Possibly, their first visit in a year. On regular phone calls, our aging parents will always tell us that everything is fine. And as much as we would like to believe that, we must acknowledge that our parents are getting older and things may have changed since our last visit. This time together is an opportunity to take a close look at our parents and evaluate how they are doing and determine if they need additional help to remain living independently at home.
Be open to noticing what is different.
Are there signs that the home is in disrepair and needs maintenance? Any change from how they have maintained the home in the past?
Has their general appearance changed? Thinner, pale or more frail? Changes in their hygiene or or are they unkempt?
Are they having trouble hearing you, or giving inappropriate answers to questions?
Is there food in the fridge and pantry? Is it fresh or outdated?
Are their medications organized? Do they know why they are taking them? Are they prescribed by different doctors? Are they taking them as scheduled?
Is the mail opened and organized? Are bills being paid?
How’s their driving? Is the car maintained? Let them take you for a ride, so you can observe them on the road.
Changes may be subtle, so it is important to take notice of them and discuss them with family members. It’s important to not let the Seniors know that you are checking up on them, just be observant. Use what you are noticing as openings for conversation.
Offer to help with anything they may need around the house; raking leaves, changing lightbulbs, etc. This will give you a good idea of what’s not getting done and create an opportunity to discuss with them the areas where they may need some assistance.
It is important, also, to be sure all medical directives and financial papers are up to date. Know their wishes and be sure it is all properly documented. And where it is all kept. (More information in a future blog)
Most importantly, remember why you are there. It is a time to celebrate and socialize. Keep it enjoyable. But, you need to pay attention to the changes that are happening and leave with a plan for how you can improve their quality of life and stay abreast of their needs, current and future.