So, you are caring for a senior at home, or close by in Greater Atlanta. Maybe you have help from other family members. Often, you are away from the house, at work, running errands or operating Mom’s taxi. You think you’re doing things the right way but at times you’re not so certain. Is your Mom or Dad telling you everything they should be telling you? How can you deal with things you do not know about? Here are elderly home care factors to consider:
Can the home be made safer for Mom or Dad? Are they still going up and down between the first and second floor? Down to a basement? Are you able to monitor whether potentially harmful conditions are developing? These can include something as seemingly non-threatening as piles of clothes and other things accumulating on the floor because of difficulty bending down, or with carrying things, or plain inattentiveness.
Is there a system in place to monitor the meds being taken? With all the pharmaceuticals available and being prescribed today, how does anyone keep track of what and when each should be taken? When new meds are prescribed to replace a previous med, is the old one properly discarded? How often are you able to be at the doctor’s office with Mom or Dad to find out for yourself? These are critical questions to ask regarding home care for seniors.
If your parent lives with you, this should not be a problem, unless you are away at mealtimes. If left to their own devices, seniors may default to the easiest thing to make which often will not provide proper nutrition. Sell-by dates on food in the frig may be ignored. Aging in place is not necessarily a fixed rate of decline over time. Foods containing anti-oxidants are available to slow down the aging process. Yes, they really work.
4. Other Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
Cleanliness and personal hygiene can suffer when a senior loses interest or becomes forgetful. Does your parent need a reminder or more than a reminder to shower or bathe regularly? This need becomes more acute when toileting becomes more difficult. When you are there, you can be the monitor. What happens when you are not there?
5. Quality of Life
Don’t ever forget about this. Older people have a tendency to shut down faster if they don’t have anything to look forward to, if not each day, at least a few times a week. Activities with children can be very stimulating. The mere presence of young children can bring joy to the eye of an older person. If you can arrange for the group to play simple board games or some form of arts-and-crafts, so much the better. Avoid scenarios where the senior sits like a bump on a log while the children watch cartoons, or play video games. Be the middle-man, or lady – tell the children stories about what Mom or Dad did when they were young. If you can get them to do it, have Mom or Dad tell the stories themselves.
Don’t forget that all of the above home care concerns are interconnected. If one area needs improvement, it can have a negative effect on the other areas of concern because of what may happen to overall well-being. If these challenges cannot be met satisfactorily by the family, look into private duty home care. When used as part of a sensible plan continuing to use family members when available, it can be surprisingly affordable, and provide respite from what be already becoming an increasing burden.