While you were home for the holidays did you notice a loved one was having some difficulty? While everyone slows down a little bit with age, there are things to look out for that can indicate there is something more than just simply getting older going on.
Perhaps they have fallen, or they aren’t as steady on their feet as they once were. They may have lost or gained weight. Maybe they are a little more forgetful than they used to be. They could be having a hard time navigating everyday tasks that used to be easy. They might not be managing a medical condition or their medications as effectively as they once did.
If things you saw during your holiday visit have you concerned it is important to evaluate the situation and look into services and resources that can help. Taking care of potential medical and support needs before they become major problems can help to ensure your loved one can continue to live safely and independently at home.
It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to the needs of aging loved ones. A good place to start is to focus on some key areas.
- An acute, chronic or terminal health condition
- Frequent hospitalizations, ER or Urgent Care visits
- Home safety concerns, falls, or fear of falling
- Incontinence concerns
- Changes in mobility, weakness, or endurance
- No longer participates in previously enjoyed activities
- Depression or anxiety
- Lack of family support
Physical & Mental Activity Indicators
- Change in range of motion
- Cognitive changes
- Weight loss or gain
Activities of Daily Living Indicators
- Need for medication assistance
- Personal emergency response needs
- Need of assistance with chores, bathing, shopping, or meal preparation
So what do you do if you have identified a need? The type of care you choose depends on the level of care needed.
Custodial care (non-skilled) services can help with activities of daily living like meal preparation, household chores, bathing, grooming and dressing. It can also provide medication assistance, transportation, and other health services coordination.
Skilled care services such as home health services, palliative care and hospice are available to those who need more specialized care. Home health services are available to help patients recover from illness or injury. Palliative care can be provided alongside curative treatments to help people facing chronic or quality of life-limiting illnesses. Hospice services are available to help those with a limited life expectancy who are no longer seeking curative treatment achieve the best quality of life possible.
Other resources such as personal emergency response systems, Meals On Wheels or senior transportation services may be available in your community to assist your loved ones as well.
Hopefully, your family is healthy, happy and doing well. But if you think your aging loved ones could benefit from a little bit of assistance, act now before a small problem develops into a big one. Getting assistance in the home whether skilled or non-skilled care can drastically reduce the risk of a more serious illness or medical condition later on, helping to ensure mom and dad are home for the holidays this year and in years to come.
Not sure where to start? SSM Health at Home offers informational visits to go over care needs and eligibility for services and resources that can keep you or your loved one as safe and independent as possible at home. Call 1-800-924-2273 or click here to request an Informational Visit today.