Without fail, following a holiday season, assisted living communities will see an increase in calls and inquiries from concerned family members looking for help. What happens that makes this such a pivotal time? Well like most of us, we live in a fast-paced world. We don’t see each other as often as we would like. Getting together, taking time to travel and perhaps having your senior loved one out of the comfort of their own home to celebrate a holiday creates obstacles. During these visits, we might discover that simple tasks become difficult. Things that we thought were okay, truly are not. It may be time to consider the fact that Mom or Dad being at home alone just isn’t the best scenario anymore.
What are some of the BIG things to keep an eye on? Let’s call these the BIG 3 RED FLAGS.
Red Flag Number One
Physical Changes: The first things that come to mind here are weight and balance. Has your loved one had a significant change? Don’t miss the obvious signs. Watch for changes in sleeping patterns too. I also remind adult children to be sure and go with their parent to a doctor visit when they can. Be sure the physician is aware of your concerns. Role reversal is SO DIFFICULT! But remember you can help be an advocate for the physical well-being of your loved one.
Red Flag Number Two
Mental Health: This can be related to the sleep factor. Too much or too little will obviously affect mental health. But ask yourself and your loved one…how much interaction do they have with others? Have there been changes in hygiene? Is the home that was once spotless now in complete disarray? If there is an obvious change in things that were once important or if they seem like they are disinterested in social activity, don’t just chalk it up to the aging process. This may be a sign of a physical issue or they just may need more socialization. Again, talk with them and their primary care physician to decide what will be the best intervention.
Red Flag Number Three
Medications: Have you ever visited someone and they literally have medication all over the place? It is a scary thing for someone to think that their loved one is unsure or unsafe when it comes to medications. You want to be sure that the right medications are taken by the right person, the right route at the right time and the right dosage. If you question this even for a minute, you don’t need to turn a blind eye.
It is not going to be easy. As I said above ROLE REVERSAL is not for the faint of heart. The hardest part may be just starting the conversation. But it is a conversation that you don’t want to put off until “something happens”. Here is an extremely useful tool that you can download now or check out on our website that will help open the conversation. The “How Do I Know When It’s Time” checklist is a wonderful resource to help shed light on the option of Assisted Living. Check it out today at http://www.gardensofeufaula.com/docs/Resources/HowWillIKnowWhenIamReadyHandout.pdf
The holidays are a great time to visit our communities. For information on how to set up a tour at one of our Great Oaks Management properties call us today at 1-888-258-8082.