There is a season for seniors in which they need a bit of extra care but are still able to safely live independently. This transitional period from independent living to the need for full time care is one that could last months or even years depending on the personal health conditions and circumstances for your loved one. The important part is that you seek out the signs and be willing to bring in help once it is needed. Below we will discuss a few tips for properly caring for your loved one until that time comes to find a more permanent care solution.
This one may seem like a no-brainer but as our loved one’s age, it becomes more and more important that we be more present with them. Seeing a parent or elderly loved one every few weeks or less can minimize your perspective on how they are actually doing, plus there is not much else that will bring them more joy than some additional time with you. If you start to notice any signs of extra care being needed, plan out more frequent visits and keep track of what you observe: any strange or withdrawn behavior, disorientation, signs of falls, bills going unpaid, etc. If unable to visit as much as you would like, make an effort to call and check in more or check in with spouses or other family members or consider setting up a family rotation. If you are able to pick up on the signs early on, you will likely give yourself some extra time to wrap your head around what is coming next and be able to prepare.
Falls are a leading cause of injury among elderly. As we get older, physical changes and health conditions along with medications to address those health conditions make falls more likely. If your loved one does take a fall, even a major fall that requires short term rehabilitation, it does not mean they are unable to continue living an independent life in their home safely. There are many steps that can be taken to make the home more safe along with some lifestyle changes to build up the strength and mobility necessary to prevent falling. Some of these items include:
-Wearing proper shoes
-Removing any clutter within the home (boxes sticking out, etc.)
-Adjusting furniture that sticks out or could create falls such as loose rugs, coffee tables or plants in high traffic areas, etc.
-Physical activity – keep moving and get some form of exercise.
-Extra lighting within the home
-Medication management – let your doctor know if you have had a fall or feel symptoms such as dizziness, disorientation etc. These things can be triggered by certain medications and can be addressed once brought to your doctors attention.
-Hand rails or grab bars for stairs, toilet seats, showers, etc.
If you have additional concerns, you can always ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist that can work with your senior to build up those muscles and mobility needed to continue living safely on their own. For more information on how to minimize falls, view our previous post: “Fall Prevention – Tips to preventing falls for your senior”.
Offer Help/Open Conversation
It is not uncommon for your senior to be a bit reluctant to receive help during this transitional stage. They are the first ones to be made aware that their memory may be going or that they are unable to do things the way they used to. Whether embarrassed, in denial, or simply determined to do it themselves, that hard conversation needs to be aired. It is important that you create an open door of communication and offer help where you see it fit. There may come a time where you must be more firm or insistent on providing help, but that will be much easier if previous conversations have been made. Some ideas on offering help include: Housekeeping, grocery deliveries, assistance paying bills, driving to and from appointments, medication management (Picking up prescriptions and sorting in daily doses to ensure they are taken), etc. If these things are too much for you or other loved ones nearby to properly manage, it may be time to start seeking out help.
Start Searching for A Nursing Home
I understand this stage may seem a bit premature to begin your search for a forever home for your loved one but finding the right place can be an extensive process. Waiting until you need a nursing home to start your search is not recommended and could lead to both added stress and a rushed decision. Remember that multiple moves can be taxing on your loved one, so finding that forever home the first time is important. If you are unsure of where to start in your search for a nursing home, Camelot Senior Living would love the opportunity to discuss your options and tour one of our many facilities throughout Louisiana. Click here to learn more about who we are and why we do what we do.