Home for The Holidays - Part II
So, you went home for the holidays to spend time with family and friends and you noticed that something just wasn’t quite right with your mother (father, aunt, sister, fill in the blank). Maybe their home wasn’t as neat and clean as usual. Or maybe you noticed some expired food in the refrigerator - or maybe you were alarmed at the lack of food in the refrigerator. Now, what are you going to do?
The first order of business might be to have a conversation with them. By approaching them in a neutral and non-threatening way you might discover that they’re having doubts about their ability to remain in their home. They may even welcome the opportunity to discuss their own concerns about their living arrangement. Once the door is open to explore options here are a few that you might find helpful:
- With permission, contact your loved one’s primary care physician and share your concerns about their ability to be safe at home. The physician might be able to offer some insight as to what may be going on and a recheck of current medications might be in order.
- Seek the advice of a social worker or geriatric care manager. These professionals can make a home visit to do a formal evaluation. However, be aware that many seniors might initially resist the idea of a “stranger” checking on them. Try pitching it as a neutral third party offering a second opinion. Some seniors end up sharing their doubts and fears with a stranger even if they’re reluctant to admit them to their own children or family.
- If you feel that your loved one is in imminent danger by being left to live alone, a call to a professional senior placement consultant can not only fast track the process of finding the right place for your loved one, but also be your eyes and ears after the holidays are over and you have to get on a plane and go home. Senior placement consultants bring a unique skill set to senior placements that other professionals either lack or don’t have the time to utilize. From being able to quickly determine which communities are appropriate both financially and geographically to making sure that the community offers the level of care that’s needed, these professionals are laser-focused on doing what is best for your loved one.
I’m a firm believer in being proactive. Don’t wait until something happens that puts you in a crisis mode - that’s a terrible time to have to make decisions! I’d be happy to speak with you and the senior in your life about what housing options are available should a time come when a move into a senior community becomes necessary.
One last thought - be respectful of the senior. As difficult as this might be for you, believe me, it’s harder for them.