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FAQs: Concerned About Your Aging Love One?

Below are the answers to some common questions you many have about in-home care and helping your loved one remain at home as long as possible.

What are some signs my aging parents might need extra help?

You come home for a weekend visit with your elderly parents and are shocked by what you see. Maybe your always put together mother looks disheveled, your dad hasn’t shaved in days and there are dishes, laundry and bills piling up around the house. Perhaps the grass is overgrown and the garden needs weeding. It might not be this drastic–you might only notice one or two things that seem out of the ordinary, but it’s obvious that keeping up with a house and yard is slowly overwhelming your parents, despite their assurances to the contrary.  An in-home caregiver can help your parents maintain their independence at home while keeping up with household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, and personal hygiene.  Visit our blog for more warning signs your parents may need a little extra help around the house.

 

How can I be sure my dad is eating nutritious meals now that mom has passed away?

Cooking for one can be a lonely task and isn’t very appealing to a lot of people. If your loved one has come to rely on fast food, cereal, or canned soup for their meals, they might need some extra motivation or external help to maintain a healthy diet. If you live close, have them over for a home cooked meal once or twice a week. Offer to take them grocery shopping and help them choose instant oatmeal, fresh fruit, frozen veggies that can be heated on the stove, and healthier prepared foods to have on hand. If you work full-time or live out of town, a caregiver can help with the grocery shopping and meal preparations, while keeping an eye on any dietary restrictions. Our blog Healthy Food Choices for Budget-Conscious Seniors offers advice on shopping for nutritious, easy to prepare foods that are friendly on the wallet.

 

What can provide peace of mind that my aging parents are keeping all of their medications and dosages straight and making it to all of their doctors’ appointments?

While managing multiple prescriptions, including dosing, refills, and potential drug interactions, can be daunting for anyone, it can be downright dangerous for someone whose cognitive abilities are declining due to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Missed doses and overdoses can have serious consequences. If you are concerned about your parents’ capacity to manage their prescriptions, it’s never too early to get involved. If you live close and are comfortable that all they need is a reminder, there are several medication reminder apps available. If their cognitive function is declining because of dementia or another reason, an in-home caregiver can make sure they are taking the right doses at the right times, help with transportation to pick-up refills and more. Our blog Taking Senior Safety Seriously highlights popular apps that can help keep medications, doses and dosing schedules straight.

 

How can I be sure mom doesn’t fall and suffer a serious injury while living home alone when I can’t check on her?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans age 65+ fall each year. Unfortunately, many people don’t discuss their fall with family or their physician because they are worried how everyone will react and don’t want to feel like their independence is threatened. Falls are serious—they are the leading cause of nonfatal and fatal injuries in older adults according to the CDC. There are a number of things you can do to help “fall proof” your parents’ home. Visit our blog for tips. If you can’t check in on your loved one but worry they are at high risk for falling, an in-home caregiver can help give you peace of mind that your loved one is safe when you can’t be there with them.

 

When is the right time to have a conversation with mom and dad about their future health and care needs?

While it is a difficult conversation to have, everyone will be happier in the long run if you have a conversation with your parents about long term care options sooner rather than later. Try starting the conversation by saying you want to make sure their wishes are met and that having the conversation before any serious decisions have to be made will keep the discussion open-minded and rational rather than emotional and heated. Topics to cover are who do they want to have power of attorney, are their wills updated, their financial situation and any long term health care insurance they have. Try to involve all of the siblings in the conversation so that everyone will be on the same page when and if something happens to mom or dad. Other important topics to discuss are whether they wish to remain in their home as long as possible or would they be more comfortable in a senior facility. Are they comfortable having an in-home caregiver help out should the need arise? Depending on where you are in the process, it might even make sense to research in-home care options with your parents. Read our blog Timing the Talk for more tips on long term care planning.

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