When Your Parents Need Help But They Don’t Think They Do…
Here it is December and the holidays are upon us. You are planning on spending time with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa. You arrive to find things are not what they have always been.
What do you do now?
This is a very common situation we see every day. You talk to them on the phone weekly/daily and you have no idea things are this bad. It’s amazing how they can fool us. It’s not intentional; they believe they are doing just fine.
You could be seeing confusion, lack of short-term memory, sense of being overwhelmed or burdened. Medication could be mismanaged and nutrition and hydration are minimal.
Observe: are they eating properly, taking their medication correctly, drinking water, hydrating?
Are they in a routine? Is one caring for the other?
I see this happening daily in my business; I am a senior advocate. I work with families on this unknown journey. WE take baby steps. First, get eyes in the house. There are many ways you can do that, speak with their PCP (Primary Care Physician).
Request orders for home health, physical therapy, occupational therapy, skilled nursing. It’s covered by their health insurance and it gives you a baseline to start. It helps their doctors see what’s happening as well.
If there is no reason to order home health, there are other things available.
You can start with a baby cam in the kitchen so you can observe what’s happening from that perspective. Are they eating?
I had a client that every time the daughter purchased food and put it in the refrigerator, she waited for her to leave and she cleaned it all out and threw all the food away.
She had early-stage dementia and her OCD was causing her to get rid of clutter. In her case, she had lost substantial weight and that was the first clue.
A new technology that’s available is AI (artificial intelligence). It’s nonevasive, no camera, not wearable. It works with sensors placed in the home to learn the patterns of your loved one. Once it learns their routine it can monitor falling, food intake, reduction in walking speed, wandering during the night, not getting out of bed, increased bathroom activity.
It can also monitor their heart rate in bed. The family can have an app on their phone that can alert them to issues and it can be monitored by a local home health company.
Knowledge is power, if you know the progression of your loved ones aging process you can plan for whatever comes your way. When it’s time to get a specialist involved, call a Neurologist or Cardiologist.
Do they need someone setting up their medications or need an automated dispenser? Should someone be coming in a few days a week to help? Is it time to plan for assisted living?
All these things are now in your hands, it’s terrible but reality.
You’ve become their parent.
Breathe and realize there are people out there to help you.
One word of wisdom I must share, “YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE THE BAD GUY”!
Make the bad guy the doctor, the advocate, motor vehicle division – anyone but YOU, the person they need to know is in their corner.