It’s the time of year we gather with family and friends. Which gives us the perfect opportunity to check in on aging loved ones, or those who might be in need of extra help.
The best way to do this is to plan a visit. Nobody wants to feel they are under the microscope, or that their privacy is being invaded. But during the visit, you can casually notice their surroundings. It can be a huge help in figuring out how your family member or friend is getting along.
Much of this is common sense, but here are some basic things to look at:
Appearance. Do they look sloppy, or a little less put together than in the past? Has their clothing been laundered? Have they stopped wearing makeup, getting haircuts or is it evident they aren’t showering regularly?
Home. Is the house messy? Is the sink full of dishes? Are there laundry piles on the floor? Take a look in the refrigerator and check the expiration dates on food. Check medications. Are the pill bottles full, which indicates medications aren’t being taken? Are they scattered and disorganized—or are medications neatly ordered in a pill-box?
Routine. When talking with your loved one, listen carefully. Do they talk about seeing friends, their daily routines and activities? What about the grocery shopping and doctors appointments? Or does it seem they aren’t doing much of anything?
Bills. Where is the mail? Is it neatly stacked on a desk or in the kitchen? Is there a system in place? Or are there papers, crumpled envelopes and such scattered about the house? Is the mailbox overstuffed, as if it isn’t being checked often? Or maybe bills aren’t opened at all.
Overall Mood, Attitude, Atmosphere. When people start having difficulty keeping their normal routines, or living as they are used to living, they often get depressed. Everybody needs something to look forward to, to enjoy. When we lose that, we lose some of our sparkle. It might be subtle, but has the atmosphere in the home changed?
Many times, people hide their limitations from those closest to them. They don’t want to be a burden, or are too embarrassed to ask for help. Nobody wants to lose their independence. I cannot remember ever hearing anybody say, “I’d like to leave my home and move to an assisted living facility or a nursing home…”
What can family and friends do to help?
There are resources available. (See the resources page on this blog.) Families can support their loved ones wishing to remain in their own homes by being aware of the many services that can help, by checking in on them and by planning ahead if possible. The holidays are a good time to have these types of discussions, because entire families are together in the same place.
Why Non-medical Home Care?
Home care used to be viewed as for the dying. But really, it is for helping people to live.
Non-medical home care providers, such as Taylor Made Home Care, can drive your loved one to doctors appointments, the grocery store, to pick up prescriptions and even to the senior center for activities with friends. Non-medical Caregivers assist with cooking, light housekeeping, showering and daily routines, or simply provide companionship. They help people maintain their routines, so that our aging family and friends can continue to live in the comfort of their own homes–and be active, healthy and safe.
The holidays are a time of coming together. But they are also a time to check in on those we love, to make sure they are well cared for and that they have all the support and assistance they need.