Important Topics to Discuss Over the Holidays

December 18, 2013

Pamela K. Matura, Executive Director, Area Agency on Aging District 7

It’s the Holidays – and that time of the year where we look forward to visits and sharing time with family, friends and loved ones. It’s also a time when our Agency likes to encourage families to spend time discussing important issues that might be affecting Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, or other family members or friends.

During this time, we encourage families to pay particular attention to situations that might alert you to a decline in health – maybe it is a family member, a special friend, or neighbor. If so, perhaps they might need some help and assistance to remain safe and independent at home? Our Agency is here to help you find resources in your community that may be available.

Read the list below to evaluate whether your loved one may need some assistance in order to remain in their home safely. If you notice that some of the statements ring true for your loved one or friend, call the Area Agency on Aging District 7. We can help identify resources in your community that may be available to help. Or, if you are a long distance caregiver living in our district and caring for someone outside our district, please feel free to also give us a call – we can find similar resources and assistance that are available in the area of the country where your loved one resides. Look for:

A decline in personal hygiene. Your loved one may not feel up to completing daily hygiene or may seem to be unaware of hygiene needs.

Difficulty managing medications. You may notice pills loose in unusual places, unfilled prescriptions, or empty pill bottles.

Falls or near falls, with or without injury.

Increased clutter in the home or a general lack of cleanliness of the living environment.

Outdated and spoiled food in the refrigerator.

Difficulty cooking or preparing meals. This can include problems following recipes or directions, burned food, lack of awareness of whether they have eaten, lack of appetite, or reliance on “junk food” that requires no preparation.

Difficulty keeping track of personal schedules, especially missing medical appointments.

Difficulty managing finances. You may notice bills piled up but unpaid, overdue bills, overdrawn checking accounts, lack of budgeting.

Decreased interest in previous hobbies and friendships.

A general decline in physical health. They may have lost weight and appear more frail. You may notice bruising or other injuries, increased forgetfulness, or less stamina for daily activities.

If you decide that help is needed, the Area Agency on Aging District 7 is here to help. Our staff is available to provide information and answer questions about a number of care needs and options that are available. After speaking with a specially-trained nurse or social worker concerning your family member’s needs, an in-home consultation to assess your loved one’s situation will be provided at no cost to identify risks and determine what assistance or preventive measures could improve their quality of life. Call us toll-free at 1-800-582-7277.

It is also important to keep watch for signs of neglect for those in our communities who might be living alone and need assistance. If you become aware of someone in your community who is not in a safe living situation or might need more information on what assistance is available in their community, call our Resource Center at 1-800-582-7277, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm. Our staff works closely with our Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Department and local Adult Protective Service agencies to assist seniors.