Is It Time For Personal Care?

Knickerbocker - 1/14/2013

Is it Time for Personal Care Yet?

Raise your hand if you have parents? How about parents over the age of 70? Are they healthy or are they showing signs of aging that are beginning to worry you? Caring for elderly parents is something that many of us have to undertake. Our wonderful medical advancements allow us to live longer and, therefore, more people have elderly parents and many of those parents either require care now or will in the future. Some organizations and individuals advocate the “70/40 Rule.” That is, when your parent is 70 or older, and you are 40 or older, it is time to start thinking and have conversations about the subject of senior care.

The vast majority of those looking into assisted living for seniors do so in a crisis situation, like an illness or an injury, that trigger the beginning of the discussion, and sometime it is the onset of symptoms of aging, whether physical or mental, that causes us to start considering the options for our loved ones. Many of these last-minute placement issues could be avoided if loved ones kept an eye out for ten signs and started the search for senior care early. Start looking for these signs in your aging loved ones now, and you will have plenty of time to find the senior care option that’s right for them.

Signs That It’s Time to Look Into Assisted Living for Seniors

1. Declining Personal Grooming Mom was always dressed to the nines. Her looks were important. Does she now have unkempt hair, dirty clothes, odor or a lack of personal grooming?

2. Poor Housekeeping Mom was a fastidious housekeeper as a young mother but now there are sticky counters, overflowing garbage cans, stained carpets, spoiled food, and piles of magazines and old newspapers.

3. Questionable Driving Habits Do you find a reason to pick mom up rather than have her drive to you? Are there unexplained dents or scratches on her car, or an increasing record of accidents or tickets?

4. Loss of Mobility Mom always had great balance and moved around gracefully when she was younger. Is she now having trouble walking, climbing stairs, rising from chairs and entering and exiting vehicles? Does she need to hold onto things more than normal to maintain her balance? Has she had a recent "tumble" or fall?

5. Culinary Skills and Appetite have Declined Mom was a fabulous cook and prepared the most sumptuous meals. Has she started skipping meals, have empty kitchen cupboards or cook too little to maintain her general health?

6. Lack of Care in Medication Management Mom has a few health issues that require daily medications. Do you notice expired medicine bottles or unfilled prescriptions lying around? Do you suspect that she is not taking her medication according to the doctor's orders?

7. Financial Issues Arising Dad always paid the bills every Sunday. He never made late payments. Do you see bills piled on the counter, have calls from creditors, or notice abnormally large donation receipts that could indicate that he is losing control over his finances. Has he been a victim of fraud recently?

8. Memory Loss Dad had a steel trap mind and a knack with remembering names. Are you noticing unexplained phone calls and loss of short-term memory? He can't seem to remember that you called this morning to remind him of his doctor's appointment.

9. Diminished Communication Skills Dad was always a multi-tasker but now he has increased difficulty following simple directions? Does he often have to stop and search for words when speaking whereas he used to be the walking dictionary?

10. Depression Has Dad's demeanor changed from his jolly self? Are you noticing that he is exhibiting signs of moodiness, anxiety, insomnia and loss of interest in things he once loved?

It is always best to be able to think and plan for the future when time is abundant, and there is no immediate crisis. We shouldn't worry unduly about the "unknown" event, neither is it something that we can totally ignore. Like anything else, a bit of foresight and planning will make life much easier if and when the time comes. Also, if we have thought about it and planned for it in a calm and considered way, then it won't be so traumatic when it happens. This will actually help us to find better solutions and therefore be happier with the outcome.

In your planning with Mom and Dad, don't forget to address important documents that you will need to have in place when they can no longer make their own decisions. These include a will, a medical power of attorney, and a financial power of attorney. None of us want to openly admit that Mom or Dad are "slipping" and that it might be time to address some serious issues. But the time to do this is before a major traumatic event occurs. Have a plan of action in place, one that Mom or Dad helped to create, so when you are forced to make some choices you have it figured out.

Knickerbocker Villa Senior Living :: 304 S 2nd Street :: Clearfield, PA 16830 :: Phone: (814) 765-1933 :: CONTACT FORM