As families gather during the holidays, the time spent with aging parents can be revealing. Talking by phone is not quite the same as having the opportunity to observe aging parents or loved ones in their own surroundings. We are able to see our parents planning for meals, managing the daily schedule and housekeeping, assisting others, having conversation, and driving. It is during these times that we are often reminded that age has a way of creeping up on us, making both the adult children and aging loved ones unaware of the subtle changes taking place.
Before too much time passes, think about these five areas to evaluate if your parents or loved ones need extra help with everyday tasks:
1. Memory Issues
Repeating questions, mail piling up, forgetting appointments, unable to join in conversations (sit passively), or make untimely/illogical comments.
2. Personal Mobility
Grasping for rails, shuffling through the house/yard, seeming wobbly, unable to open jars, or bend down to retrieve an item.
3. Personal Care
Difficulty bathing, noticeable decline in hygiene, difficulty laundering clothes, or lack of care for feet and hands. Difficulty exercising independently (for example, walking outside).
4. Meal Preparation
Difficulty grocery shopping (especially lifting/carrying bags), following a schedule and lists, refrigerator and cabinets not well stocked, difficulty handling pots and pans, or unclean dishes/silverware in the cabinets.
5. Driving Ability
Not using turn signals, not routinely checking blind spots, unable to accelerate to full speed, missing exits/entrances, and not seeing stop signs in time for a safe stop. Experience “pedal confusion”.
If you notice an obvious decline in any of these five areas, it may be time for a conversation about how to continue living at home — safely. The conversation can be positive, focusing on ways to decrease risks and increase independence, freedom, and physical health. Give the gift of aging well at home!
in the Wiregrass area, call and talk with Wiregrass HomeCare at (334) 539-5900.