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➢ Medication – Can you find a stash of outdated medication in the bathroom, bedroom or anywhere?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.
It’s almost Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. Do you have aging parent issues? If you suspect your holiday visit to aging relatives could have some scary scenes, here are some red flags to put in a checklist and share with your midlife siblings before the holiday call. If alarm bells go off it may be time to call a geriatric care manager and have a family meeting.
Perhaps older parents have piles of junk mail, stained dirty attire, unwrapped gifts when Mom used to shine through her color coordinated presents. All are cause for the 911 alarm- then action.
You can use this list to assess your parents or older family members during the holidays and compare notes on a post holiday conference call. If all midlife siblings have the same criteria, it makes easier to agree what to do and what to flag as family New Year’s resolutions.
Below is a list of red flags. If you see any red signals on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or face them on Christmas- now is the time to do something about it. Use this is a checklist of some worrisome signs you may have seen.
Alarm Bells List for Visiting Long Distance Relatives During the Holidays
Clutter in a home that was once always neat
Memory loss, change in short-term memory
Poor grooming by a person who was once meticulous
Refusing to go with friends on outings or to religious services
refusing any suggestion or conversely agreeing to everything with-out consideration
Mood swings, getting angry qui
Refusing to go to medical providers
Cant take care of activities of daily living: cooking, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, etc.
Entering contests, credit card maxed out on shopping channels
When the midlife adult children return from the holidays, the family can have a family meeting alone or with an the aging professional and look at the problems on everyone’s the list, agree on the top red flags and start helping the long distance family.
As nearly 7 million Americans and innumerable midlife siblings are responsible for the care of an older family member live an average of 300 miles away, this is a great gift to midlife family members and their loved ones.
Don’t wait till you and your midlife siblings are shocked out of sleep by late-night calls from brothers and sisters, frantically telling them of a crisis with aging Mom or Dad. Don’t force yourself and the other adult children to book last minute, high-cost flights, and gather in scary, sterile hospital rooms with brothers and sisters they have not really communicated in years. If you do -siblings might stare starkly at each other, then have to face doctors and social workers that may ask the family to make excruciating decisions about Mom and Dad. Call a geriatric care manager and you will be really thankful this Th