I have often heard that a smell can take you to a certain moment in time. Maybe it’s the aroma of mulled cider on the stove at Christmas time or grandmother’s pumpkin pie. For me, it is the smell of the aftershave that my father wore. Now that he has passed away, the smell of Old Spice can stop me in my tracks. As a child, I thought my Daddy’s shaving routine was a long drawn out process. That makes me laugh now that I realize all the hoops I jump through as a woman. Getting ready and looking our best is something most of us will do as we look to spend time together with family during the holidays. But it may not be as easy as it once was for our aging loved ones.
It seems that I hear quite often from those in senior living management, that calls about availability in assisted living seem to increase after the holidays…and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Why you ask? Well, the caller just had a visit with their folks. During those visits, they may realize that their aging loved ones may not be doing as well as they thought they were. So, what are some TELL-TALE SIGNS that you may want to watch for if you think your parent is a prospect?
Mom was the one who always made sure you had on clean clothes and that your shirt tail was tucked in…right? So, if you notice that her once pressed pants now look disheveled or that her hair is a mess, it may be a sign. Mom may be worried about falling in the shower or becoming overwhelmed with the thought of the reaching and bending involved in doing the laundry. This may be a clear indication that now is the time to open the discussion about the move to assisted living. In this setting, Mom could have assistance with her bathing and leave the laundry to staff at the community. Most properties also have a salon on-site so Mom can have her “locks” looking lovely.
If opening Dad’s refrigerator or walking in his kitchen causes you to cringe you are not alone. Another sign to watch for that it may be time for assisted living is centered around FOOD. If Dad is uninterested in cooking for one or is not the best at keeping a kitchen clean, there is a solution. Truthfully, when I first started working in assisted living I remember my husband saying “wait a minute, three home cooked meals, they clean your room and do laundry…I don’t get that at home!! Where do I sign?” Now while my husband is quite the comedian, his observation is pretty spot on. Assisted living communities offer all of these amenities to help simplify life for residents.
So, as you visit your family members during the holidays, watch for some of these tell-tale signs. If it is time to “open up” the discussion…remember the nose knows! If something that once was squeaky clean isn’t up to par…step in and step up.
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