It’s certainly not easy to see yourself age, but sometimes it can be even harder to watch your parents or other loved ones getting older. You want to help, but you don’t know where to start. You don’t want to insult or make them feel you are taking on their parent role, and you aren’t sure when to intervene or even how. Fortunately, FirstLantic has put together these tips to help you navigate what is often a complex and emotional issue.
Recognizing the Signs:
Whether we want to see them (or not), the signs that someone needs help are often there. It could be simple things like your mother’s messy home when she was meticulous about neatness. Or it could be that your father forgets simple things even though he used to be able to remember even the most minor detail. If you see one issue in isolation, it might not necessarily be a big problem, but chances are that it won’t just be one thing.
Look for Patterns:
- Changes in personal hygiene or home environment
- Lack of interest in family and friends
- Extreme forgetfulness
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Unpaid or overdue bills
- Unused medication
- Difficulty keeping track of time.
- Failure to return phone calls to friends and family members.
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings.
- Increased agitation.
- Verbal or physically abusive behaviors.
Most of us know our family members well enough to notice when something is different. However, we often ignore the obvious because we don’t want to admit it. The worst thing you can do is avoid the issue because you are unsure how to handle it because there are always places to go for help.
Broaching the Topic:
For many people, the hardest part is beginning the dialogue and finding a way to raise your concerns. Try to make it as natural as possible, so your loved one does not become defensive. Ask them if they have noticed changes in themselves or are experiencing problems of any kind. Let them know you’re there for them and want to be their advocate and that you will sleep better at night if you know they have help. If you are not getting any response, it might be easier to have their doctor speak with them or a close friend of a similar age. Sometimes it’s harder to admit challenges to your children than to a third party or a friend. No matter how you do it, try to be patient, listen, and don’t be condescending. Remember, this isn’t easy for either of you, so be kind and patient. And don’t feel the need to resolve everything in one conversation.
How to Find Help:
Once you have determined a problem exists and discussed it with your loved one, the next step is getting support. This process can often be the most challenging part as it’s often difficult to know where to turn, especially if you don’t live close to your parents. Fortunately, many resources are available, and we have provided a comprehensive list below. The critical thing to realize is that you are not alone, and there are available support mechanisms.
Aging Associations and Governmental Services:
- National Council on Aging
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- ElderCare Resource Directory
- Senior Corps – senior companion volunteers
Other Available Resources:
- FirstLantic.com – home service solutions including health aides, nurses, light housekeeping, medication management, companionship LiveWell Placements – free service that helps patients find the best living solution. Adult day services offer meals, activities, companionship and some medical care. SimplyHome offers monitoring equipment such as motion sensors and GPS watches, and
- QuietCare has a motion-sensor system that can learn a person’s daily patterns and send alerts when there is a significant change.
- Villages is a nonprofit that helps older residents stay in their homes. Volunteers perform everyday tasks, and the Villages also arrange discounted services, from plumbing to nursing care.
If you or someone you know is interested in home healthcare or companionship services in South Florida, FirstLantic can help. We have provided our patients with the highest quality in-home care services in Broward and Palm Beach Counties since 2000. Click here to contact us.
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