Checking on Family During the Holidays
By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG
Many family members only see their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or other loved ones during the holidays due to distance, time and many other factors. It is often after these visits that I receive phone calls with the statement, “mom and dad seem to be really going downhill”. The holidays are a good time to visit family and to monitor the ongoing ability to complete everyday tasks by older parents and grandparents.
Did you notice a decline in physical ability or mobility? What was the level of physical stamina? Did parents seem to tire easily, have difficulty walking on flat surfaces or up and down steps? Have parents lost or gained weight? How is the appetite? How is the general mood? Is there a good social network on which they rely? Is the home being maintained? How are driving skills? Are bills being paid on time and correctly? Have medical and other health related appointments been scheduled and kept? Is the home clean and without clutter? Are pets receiving the appropriate care?
Sometimes noticing the little things after we’ve been away from a family member gives hints about a possible need for assistance. The right type of assistance is often able to prevent further declines that might be seen in a family member. Sometimes the assistance needed is minimal, sometimes significant.
By discussing options, you as a family member can leave with a sense of comfort and peace of mind that the next time you visit, your family member will not be continuing to “go downhill”. Give the gift of concern and caring to your family member this holiday season by noticing the little things and by contacting an advocate who can provide options for care.
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