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Home for the Holidays? Top 10 Checklist For Your Visit With Elderly Loved Ones

The holiday season is in full force now. Many of us will be seeing family members that we haven’t seen for several months or more. As our loved ones age, we want to keep them safe.  So, we may be required to be more observant than usual during our visits.

Here are the top 10 things for you to check out during your holiday visit with elderly loved ones:

1.  Is there food in the house?

Do the refrigerator and cabinets have the basics to get your loved one through a couple days if the weather is bad or if they become ill?

It’s a good idea to keep soup, crackers, Gatorade, and other staples available just in case they are needed.

2.  Is the food in the house older than you?

Is there spoiled food in the fridge?  As we age, we have a tendency to keep things long past their expiration date. If so, you may want to offer to help clean out that old food before someone tries to feed it to you. Be sure to check out the freezer for old food while you’re at it.

3.  Are the keys in the freezer?

Speaking of the freezer, are there any items in the freezer that shouldn’t be there, like a remote control or car keys? Placing items where they obviously do not belong could be a sign that your loved one is starting to experience more mental deterioration than you may have thought.

4.  What’s in the medicine cabinet?

It’s a good time to peek in the medicine cabinet too. Are there expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in there?  If so, you’ll want to dispose of them.  Here’s a link on how to correctly get rid of them: https://tinyurl.com/GAoldpills

5.   How is mom’s (or dad’s) hygiene?

Use your nose while you’re visiting family members.  During your hugs, take a whiff. Is there an odor that indicates incontinence, lack of bathing, or an inability to keep their clothing clean?  None of us likes to admit that we are getting older or that our abilities are slipping. However, these are signs that additional help is needed.

6.   Is there anything that could trip them up?

A fall can be life-changing for you and an aging loved one. Look for areas of risks such as rugs, bed skirts, or anything blocking the walking paths and hallways. Check to see that the stairs and railings are steady. The bathroom should have hand rails by the tub/shower and the toilet.

7.  Is unopened mail piling up or bills left unopened?

Look around for unopened mail and overdue bills. As our mental abilities start to decline, we forget to open the mail and get behind on our bills. If you see these signs, the checkbook is probably also a mess and indicates that someone needs to step in to help.

8.   Are there changes in mood, energy, interest in activities or hobbies?

Does your loved one still get together with their friends, neighbors, and church group?  Many people become depressed during the holidays, but it’s still something that you should investigate further with your loved one and possibly his/her doctor. There might be a physical or psychological treatment that can improve the quality of their life.

9.   Is your loved one frail, losing weight, moving slowly, and unsteady?

If so, it is time to ensure their safety. It may be time to get your family member in-home care or help them move to an assisted living facility to provide more care. Many times, when a loved one receives more care at home or moves into assisted living, their health improves because they are receiving three balanced meals every day, their medications are taken at the proper time, and an increase in social activities improves their disposition. They can use their energy having fun while the chores are taken care of for them.

10. Will you let Miss Daisy drive you?

Finally, if you are feeling brave, have your loved one drive you to the grocery store or a place they would routinely drive to by themselves. Watch their reflexes and driving abilities.  Are they still safe? A car accident can injure them and others. It may even wipe out a life-time of savings. Many scammers prey on seniors and create schemes to take their money.

If you are extremely brave, ask your loved one to take you for a drive at night. If that doesn’t scare you, you are either fearless, a bad driver yourself, or they are still safe behind the wheel.

A Message For Aging Family Members and Parents

If you are the parents or aging family member and you are expecting visitors over the holidays, be forewarned. Your visitors may be snooping around to ensure your safety.  You now have a list of what they will be looking for, so you can get things in order.

Even if you do not have loved ones visiting this year, it’s a good idea to review this list and take charge of your own long-term care and safety. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family members to ask for needed help. It can be hard for adult children to accept that their parents are growing older. You may need to help them understand and cope by having an open conversation to discuss your wishes and future care.

One Final and Important Reminder!

Make sure you know where important documents are kept in case your loved one can no longer act on their own behalf.  Just like your parents probably had to have the difficult conversation with you about the birds and the bees, you may need to initiate the difficult conversation about their long-term care, protecting their home and assets, and honoring their wishes.

The good news is you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We can help.

Nelson Elder Care Law firm provides compassionate legal guidance to help people protect their assets, quality of life, and peace of mind at every stage of life. We assist seniors and their families prepare for the future and navigate the complex laws governing the qualification and use of available benefits, while protecting their hard-earned assets.

For a free consultation, contact our office at 678-250-9355 or click below to schedule.

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