THIRD IN A SERIES: EASY ANSWERS TO TOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT ELDERCARE
You can read the first two articles here:
Once the need for outside help is accepted, identifying the initial tasks for outside help is the next step. Focusing the efforts of outside help will be most productive and cost-efficient.
Each person’s and each family’s needs will be somewhat different. Needs will usually change over time. Here is a preliminary checklist.
Does your senior need help:
Without adequate housekeeping, the home can’t be safe and sanitary. If your senior has limited mobility, a cluttered home makes getting around more difficult and less safe.
Adequate fresh food, and someone to prepare it, is vital for health.
Even if your senior is able to drive, having someone remind and accompany your senior to errands and appointments makes it easier for her to get those things done.
Taking the correct medications, at the prescribed time, in the prescribed doses can become too much for your senior to do alone.
Regular showering can be physically tiring or intimidating for some seniors. Even when the showering can be done alone, many seniors feel safer if someone is there, making her more willing to shower regularly. A few minor adjustments and pieces of equipment can make the bathroom much safer and less intimidating.
Grooming and dressing makes one feel better, physically and emotionally. A little help can often make grooming and dressing easier and faster. Having clean clothes available and easily reached is crucial.
A task as usually simple and routine as getting the mail and processing it can be difficult or impossible for some seniors. When mail goes uncollected and stacks up, your senior can feel isolated and stressed. If your senior is not able to manage the bills alone, not being able to keep up with the mail can cause problems with crucial services and financial matters. Properly managing mail and incoming phone calls can minimize your senior’s risk of becoming a victim of fraud. If your senior is no longer able to use the internet safely without help, the risk of fraud is even greater unless she has help.
Without regular personal interactions, social activity, and intellectual stimulation, your senior will be negatively affected physically, cognitively, and emotionally.
If one family member is trying to do all or almost all the caregiving, the physical, mental, and emotional stress can put that family member at much greater risk of injury and illness.
Even when family members live nearby and are able and willing to help, their availability is usually limited, due to other responsibilities and commitments. Outside help doesn’t replace the family, but can make it possible for the family to focus on doing the things they most need and want to do.
In the next article I will address the fourth tough question about eldercare.
Greg Dodd, CSA
Greg is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and can be found in the Find CSAs section of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors® website (www.csa.us).
Greg and his wife, Katie, own a franchise of Seniors Helping Seniors® services in Dallas, Texas. Their website is http://www.seniorcaredallasnorth.com/Home.html and their phone number is 214-478-4198.