If you are an adult child, did your visit to elderly parents unnerve you enough that you are going to call a geriatric care manager to do a geriatric assessment? If so– great idea. What will the geriatric care manager do to solve your elderly parent’s problems? Part of the geriatric assessment is a functional assessment.
What is a functional assessment? . Done by a geriatric care manager (GCM), it measures of the basic skills of role function of an older person. This includes measurement of the performance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, grooming, dressing, eating, transferring, toileting, and more advanced instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), including handling financial matters appropriately, finding one’s way out of the home and back, and managing medication regimens. It measures how an older person functions is her environment and helps him function better.
Both the functional and psychosocial assessment done by the geriatric care manager will help you have that much needed, post holiday feeling, “ peace of mind”. Another post holiday sigh of relief is a geriatric assessment will you a map of the specific problems that need to be solved and how to solve them –. “ Whew” what a deep breath you can take after all the holiday joy and stress.
Here are some suggestions that you might consider as New Years resolutions. It’s not “go on a diet,” but what you should do after the holiday with your parents, when you spotted red flags that made you worry about your aging mom or dad. Here is the entire list of resolutions you might make for a in a January visit to your parents, after the holiday gave you reason to worry about an aging family member:
➢ Accompany the elderly person to the doctor, and talk to the doctor in person.
➢ Gather legal financial and insurance paperwork, and meet with professionals.
➢ Have all mail forwarded to yourself or another relative who will manage it
➢ Contact and meet with old and present friends.
➢ If your older family members are in a facility, make contact with staff that cares them, and the ombudsman.
➢ Meet with your elderly relative’s support network.
➢ Meet with a geriatric care manager http://www.caremanager.org/ in the area.
A holiday visit to elderly parents today, can be sweet or it can be scary. You might even be celebrating with your midlife siblings, If you find some of these issues at your parents home it may be time to call a geriatric care manager to do a geriatric assessment and help you solve these problems
The frightening part often happens when you haven’t seen aging parents for a while. If you live long distance, making an occasional visit can set off alarms, especially if find your aging Mom or Dad has gone down hill.
Here is a checklist to take with you, on Christmas visit .I have given you ten red flags to watch for when you spend time with aging parents. This means you may have to get out your magnifying glass, like Sherlock Holmes, and really look for clues. That show your aging parents need the help of a professional to guide you to the solution to help them stay at home by the next holiday.
➢ Curb Appeal – Does your Dad’s home look more like an unmaintained rental? Is there disrepair, a weedy yard, uncleaned carpets or furniture?
➢ Housekeeping – Are there dirty dishes, unwashed sheets, a mess where things used to be tidy? Does the house look like it needs a scrubbing, or at least someone to help with cleaning?
➢ Medication – Can you find a stash of outdated medication in the bathroom, bedroom or anywhere?
➢ Driving – Is driving with your older Dad frightening? Ask him to drive you somewhere. How is his reaction time, or judgment? Can he drive at night? Does he have traffic tickets? Assess the car. Is it worse for wear, dented or are there telltale signs of accidents?
➢ Trash- Are there bags of trash in the basement or out back? Look in closets.
➢ Collections- Are there growing collections that appear to be out of control, of newspapers, magazines, old sports memorabilia, ashtrays – any accumulation that appears to be taking over space and looks excessive. This is a sign of hoarding
➢ Shopping- Take him out shopping or out to a meal to celebrate the day. When he does shopping or pays for a meal, does he have problems with checks, credit cards, figuring tips, or calculating discounts? Does he forget his wallet or other important personal items he should have with him?
➢ Change in Behavior- Is Dad quiet when he used to be loud? Is he paranoid, having mood swings, unsocial when he used to be the belle of the ball or life of the party?
➢ Odors- Did you smell urine? Must? Mildew? Dirty clothes or dishes?
➢ Refrigerator- Are there science experiments, aka moldy food in the refrigerator?
If any of these clues turn up trouble, you need talk your midlife siblings about the problems you have discovered and set up a family meeting via Skype, in person or a family conference call and consider hiring a geriatric care manager in your area who can do both a functional and psychosocial assessment and help your solve your parents problems and give you and your midlife siblings peace of mine.