Many of us don’t think to plan exactly what we’ll do when mom and dad need help. For years they’ve been self sufficient, put together and happy, living independently and safely at home, but this can change quickly. Physical and mental health decline is usually unexpected, and as we all know, age can creep up on us. As a family, you may have discussed options, and while it’s great to have a plan, nothing can prepare you for when the time comes.
Researching the differences between a nursing home, assisted living facility and in home care is critical to deciding what’s best for your parents. Go over any completed advanced planning and review finances so you know what options are financially feasible. It’s normal for family to question, disagree and wonder—Can Mom and Dad continue to live at home? Can we afford their move to assisted living? Do they need regular assistance and care? It’s only natural to go back and forth when deciding the best path.
Noticing there’s a problem
It’s difficult for aging parents to let their guard down and admit they need help. So, it’s up to family to recognize the signs. Just as important as settling on a plan is knowing how to identify when things are changing. Here are a few things to look for at Mom and Dad’s house…
- Start paying attention as you pull up—Is the mailbox full? Are outdoor lights still on? Does the home look relatively well-kept?
- Inside the home—Is mail piling up by the door? Are there overdue bills? Do you notice strange odors? Is it dirtier and more cluttered than normal? Are they falling behind on laundry?
- Check kitchen cabinets and inside the fridge—Are cupboards empty? Is food spoiled? Have medications expired? Is there reason to believe they’ve adopted a poor diet?
- Notice any changes in appearance—Does Mom seem less put together than normal? Is Dad wearing the same, wrinkled clothes? How about weight gain or loss? Do they seem uncomfortable or unsteady on their feet?
- Assess mental health and awareness—Do you notice mood swings or cognitive problems? Are Mom and Dad still enjoying social activities and hobbies? Are they scared to be alone or skeptical to leave the house?
Line up help, and get a medical alert system
Whether you notice just a few, or many of these warning signs, it’s never too early to start thinking about how and where to get support and resources. From help with housekeeping to home health aides, personal assistance to companionship services, Care Advantage offers an abundance of services and programs to provide your parents with what they need to remain safe and comfortable at home for as long as possible.
Care Connect is a specialized medical alert system we offer to our patients. This system offers 24/7 protection, wired through a cellular device so it can be used anywhere, anytime. Care Connect is unlike typical emergency alert systems in that it’s not just for medical emergencies—it can literally be used for anything—like refilling prescriptions, scheduling appointments, reporting medical changes, even ordering carry out–it’s like having a medical professional and assistant on hand at all times.
To learn more about recognizing the signs Mom and Dad need help, or to find out about Care Connect, our unique medical alert system, contact Care Advantage today at 800-473-0022.