Holidays A Good Time To Assess Your Elderly Parent’s Health
November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
The approaching holidays provide a festive reason for families to share some quality time together. While Thanksgiving can make a good excuse to have an extra helping of pie, it can also be an excellent time to assess how elderly relatives are fairing. And having the family together can also provide your family a chance to discuss plans for future care and arrangements.
The AARP (aarp.org) has put together a list of things to look for when you visit your senior family members this season.
Look around your loved ones’ house or apartment to see if it meets their needs as they age. Can they still safely manage the stairs, or would a chair lift make that easier? Would they be better off in their living quarters were all on one level?
Are you concerned about such things as dark stairs, loose rugs, clutter or fire hazards? Would brighter lighting and clearer passageways help?
Is there a bath on the ground floor and a room that could become a bedroom if necessary?
Could their home be made more convenient with simple modifications, such as easier to use handles and switches, pullout cabinet shelves, a comfort-height toilet or walk-in shower?
If you’ve answered yes to these questions, talk to family members about addressing the situation.
Their Ability to Drive
If your older relatives are still driving, ride with them and observe their behind-the-wheels skills. Are they having close calls? Are there dents or dings on the car or garage? Do they drive too slow or miss signs or signals? Do they have difficulties at intersections? Have they gotten warnings or tickets?
These are a few signs that it might be time to talk about limiting driving. or hanging up the keys all together.
Look around their community to see what alternative transportation options exist for shopping, medical visits, religious services and visits with family and friends if driving becomes too risky.
If you don’t already know about their health problems and medications, take this time to ask. How do their drugs make them feel? Are their prescriptions current?
Has their doctor or pharmacist reviewed all of their medications? Do they always remember which medications to take and when? Would a pill organizer be helpful?
Make sure that they know that it is Medicare open enrollment season until December 31 and see if they need to update their coverage. See if they have any questions about Medicare or Medicaid or changes under the new health care law. Find help at aarp.org/medicare.
See if they could use help with filling out forms, such as insurance claims.
This can be a difficult topic to broach, but it is important to discuss monetary matters before a crisis occurs. Ask your relatives if all of their financial information is in one place, and where you can access it in case of an emergency?
Check on the condition of their mail. Are bills stacking up? Are there late notices? Do they have any bills they can’t pay?
These are just preliminary conversations you should be having with your parents or other other elderly relative.
If you have any concerns once you have visited your loved one please contact Legacy Law Firm, LLC. The firm is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients. The office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.