The holidays are a wonderful time of year for fun, cheer and family gatherings. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, great meals will be shared, gifts will be exchanged, and loved ones will be reunited.
Amidst all these glad tidings, some families may learn that their loved one needs long term senior care. To avoid an unexpected downside to your holiday season, learn more about what to do in this situation.
Preparing for Long-Term Care Over the Holidays
It’s the holiday season, and it can be difficult to discover that your parents or senior loved ones may now be in need of long-term senior care. The need for personal care and support can sneak up on a family. After having been apart for some time, it can become suddenly apparent that it is no longer safe for someone you care about to live alone. If this happens to you, you must assess your loved one’s ability to live independently. Complete a safety and well-being check and consider creating a blueprint for a family action plan this holiday season.
Over the holidays lookout for the following warning signs that long-term care for seniors is necessary:
Look for a loss of ability to execute what is known as the Activities of Daily Living. ADLs include bathing or showering, dressing, eating, functional mobility, personal hygiene, and toileting hygiene. Healthcare professionals often use ADLs to determine what level of care is needed. Also, look out for signs of rapid weight loss or an empty refrigerator. This might indicate your loved one is experiencing a loss of appetite or is struggling to prepare meals. Pay special attention to any physical injuries, the inability to maintain balance, or a loss of strength or movement. These issues can increase the risk of falling. Other things to look out for include incontinence and worsening medical conditions.
While almost all older adults experience some level of forgetfulness, frequent lapses in memory that are starting to negatively impact one’s life can be a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This forgetfulness can include misplacing items, forgetting important events and appointments, and struggling to remember the names of close friends and family members. Your loved one might have difficulty carrying on a conversation. It is also common to become lost or confused while completing everyday tasks, such as going to the grocery store.
Some mental health issues such as paranoia, delusions, mood swings, personality changes, or depression are associated with different types of dementia. A dementia diagnosis does not necessarily mean a senior must immediately leave their home. However, developing a family plan can make finding care smoother as the disease progresses.
Make sure you look around the house to see what kind of shape it is in since the last time you visited. Is it becoming disheveled? Are household items being put in odd places where they should not be? Are there signs of damage such as a flash fire in the kitchen or automobile damage in the garage? These can be important visual clues that physical or mental deterioration is starting to take a toll.
A recent traffic ticket or car accident should raise a red flag that your loved one may be experiencing troubles driving. From vision problems to dementia, there are several reasons older adults may experience a sudden impairment in driving. A good way to gauge your loved one’s driving abilities is to go on a ride with them.
Piles of unopened mail can reveal that your loved one is neglecting to pay their bills and may be struggling financially. Other warning signs of financial decline include taking longer than normal to complete simple financial tasks or struggling to pay attention to important details. You may also notice difficulties performing basic math or understanding financial concepts.
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Source: Chris Orestis