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Be On The Lookout When Visiting Parents This Holiday by Cindy Nelson Elder Law Attorney Cherokee County Georgia

My Parents Aren’t As Healthy As I Thought

The holiday season is the time that families gather together, often from long distances. If you haven’t seen your parents in a while, you may notice they are aging more than you remembered. Here are some things to watch for the next time you visit.

Physical Appearance: Is your parent clean and presentable? Not keeping up with daily routines could be a result of physical, mental, or emotional decline. Do you notice any weight loss? Cooking may have become difficult. Also, some medications can affect taste and cause a lack of appetite. Pay attention to how your parent walks. Is balance or gait a problem? Unsteadiness can increase the risk of falling, which can result in serious injury.

Home Environment: If your parent has always maintained the yard, home repairs, a clean house and paid bills on time, a neglected yard or repairs, a cluttered or dirty house, or stack of unpaid bills could be clues that things are not quite right. Is your parent able to handle their medications? Should they be driving?

Memory Loss: Everyone loses their keys or forgets things occasionally. But having trouble with common words, getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, or not being able to follow directions could be indications of something serious. By the way, it’s not always dementia—a urinary tract infection that can be cured with antibiotics, other medical issue, or even a medication can often present with memory loss or confusion.

Emotional Well-Being: Watch for signs of depression, including withdrawal from social activities, changes in sleep patterns, or loss of interest in hobbies.

What can you do?

  1. If you see things that concern you, talk to your parent. Have an honest conversation about what you are noticing and see if they are aware of any changes.
  2. Encourage regular medical check-ups and possibly a medical assessment. You may want to go with your parent and discuss results and suggestions with the doctor.
  3. Address any safety issues and prioritize a to-do list. Simple things like adding non-slip pads under rugs or installing handicap bars in a bathroom can prevent falls. Medic alert systems are also valuable.
  4. Identify all available resources. (Also see #6 below.) Maybe you need to hire a housekeeper, someone to run errands, or a home health aide.
  5. If you have siblings, involve them if possible.
  6. Make a list of medications, doctors, and medical issues.
  7. Make sure your parent has all appropriate legal documents, including financial and healthcare powers of attorney and estate planning documents. An Elder Law attorney can be a valuable resource as he/she has walked this road before with other families, and can help with securing benefits from the VA and Medicaid, if applicable.
Hear From Our Clients
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I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce

Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!

- Marcia

I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!

- Ben