Holidays Are Time to Connect with Home and Community-Based Services for Aging Parents
There’s no place like home for the holidays. And since families gather this time of year, it’s a good time for a reality check on how aging parents and loved ones are really doing. Are folks struggling with the day-to-day tasks of cooking, forgetting to take medications or perhaps suffering from mild depression or other conditions? The role of family members in watching out for their elderly relatives is highlighted during the holidays.
“We always see an increase in community needs during the holidays,” said Jennifer Westfall, Buckeye Hills Aging & Disability Director. “When family members reconnect, especially those from out-of-town, they often notice changes in aging loved ones.”
Today, more than one in four adults in America is caring for a loved one who needs help – usually a parent. The situation is so common that AARP released a checklist of tips and questions to simplify observing how Mom and Dad are doing.
Once a family has taken stock of what might be needed to support a loved one in the home, the Buckeye Hills Aging & Disability Division can help connect the aging and their caregivers to home and community-based resources.
“To help families with their challenges and to provide essential resources, we are available to help,” said Westfall. “We have certified staff specialists in aging information and assistance ready to help caregivers and families connect to services. An assessor will come to the home for a free, no obligation visit. They will do an assessment of what kinds of help the person might need or what they can use.”
Those interested in learning more should request a free in-home consultation by calling Buckeye Hills at 1-800-331-2644 or visit www.buckeyehills.org/aging. Buckeye Hills serves Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry and Washington Counties.
Taking a Look at their Home – How to tell if their home is still appropriate
- Can they still manage the stairs, or would a chair lift or a home on one level be better?
- Are you concerned that their home may have safety hazards, such as dark stairs, loose rugs, clutter, or fire hazards? Would brighter lighting and fewer tripping hazards help?
- Is there a bathroom on the ground floor and a room that could become a bedroom if necessary?
- Could simple modifications to their home, like easier to use handles and switches, pull out cabinet shelves, a comfort height toilet or walk in shower make it more convenient?
Getting Around – How to gauge their driving safety and transportation options
- If they are still driving, ride with them and observe their driving. Are they having close calls? Are there dents or dings on the car or garage? Do they drive too slow or miss signs or signals? Do they have difficulties at intersections? Have they gotten warnings or tickets? These are a few signs that it might be time to talk about limiting driving or hanging up the keys.
- Look around the community or make a note to research their alternative transportation options for shopping, medical visits, religious services and visits with family and friends if they hang up the keys.
Health – A few key things to check
- If you don’t already know about their health problems and current medications, take this time to ask. Are their prescriptions current?
- Has their doctor or pharmacist reviewed all of their medications for side effects and potentially dangerous interactions or effect on driving? Their pharmacist can be a great resource.
- Are they having any problems taking their medications? Do they always remember which medications to take and when? Would a pill organizer be helpful?
- Make sure that they know when Medicare open enrollment is and see if they need to update their coverage. See if they have any questions about Medicare or Medicaid or changes.
- See if they could use help with filling out forms, such as insurance claims.
Finances – How to get ready to help
- Is all of their financial information in one place and do you know where it is so you can access it in an emergency?
- Check on the condition of their mail. Are bills stacking up? Are there late notices?
- Do they have any bills they can’t pay?