Holiday check on elderly loved ones

By VNA HealthCare
Statewide - posted Thu., Dec. 8, 2011
Contributed
- Contributed Photo

This is the time of year when families who haven’t seen each other in a while have a chance to reunite. It’s also an opportunity for adult children to see firsthand how their elderly family members and friends are faring.

During the holiday season, VNA HealthCare, an affiliate of Hartford HealthCare, recommends that family members take this time to be conscious of elderly family members’ environment, and truly evaluate how they are living; look for the things that wouldn’t necessarily be noticed over the telephone pertaining to their ability to manage independently at home.

· Are they less mobile or having difficulties moving around, making them a bigger risk for potential falls?

· Have you noticed any changes in terms of their eating habits? Do they look underweight or malnourished? Are any foods in the refrigerator moldy and expired? Are they cooking their food or only eating out of cans?

· If they are having difficulties getting to the grocery store or preparing their own meals, is someone assisting them by bringing food in?

· Can you see a noticeable difference in terms of their personal hygiene? Has their hair been washed, and, for the men, are they clean-shaven?

· Are you finding that their clothes are piled high and unwashed? Are the halls and rooms filled with clutter?

· Are there any signs of memory loss?

· Are there any signs that they are confused, in terms of taking their prescribed medications?

VNA HealthCare Geriatric Care Manager Kelly Keaveney, RN, said, “The goal is to examine their home environments for these important indicators. Understanding the ‘bigger picture’ in terms of where they stand allows families to find and access the necessary services that exist, allowing their loved ones to continue living comfortably and safely in their own homes.”

If you identify significant changes in elderly family members, a geriatric care manager can work with you to assess the situation and develop the necessary plan and services. They are your experienced partner, with the knowledge and resources you need to manage interpersonal issues related to care management, including gerontology, social work, or psychology, with a specialized focus on issues related to aging and elder care. Call 860-913-6188 for more information.


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