Archive for December, 2013

Mom and Dad are OK. Aren’t They?

December 20, 2013

We speak with our older relatives often by phone, exchange letters and sometimes emails.  It is difficult to notice incremental changes in how they are getting along when we see them face-to-face every day.  On the other hand when we only get together a few times per year, for example during the holidays, even small changes can jump out at us.  Family gatherings are a good time to really take stock of how our parents, and others we care about, are doing.  Here are some things to look for:

  1. Piles of un-opened mail around the home (unopened mail is an indication that bills may not be getting paid).

  2. A home that was formerly kept spotless, but is not so clean now. 

  3. Needed repairs that have not been made.  Is the home safe?

  4. Is there food in the refrigerator?  Is it fresh?

  5. Unexplained bruises.  Or do the explanations sound like they are covering up for falls or possibly even abuse?

  6. New scratches or dents in the car?  New marks on the garage that match the new marks on the car?

  7. Speech that is not as clear and strong as it was the last time you were together?

  8. New tremors, especially in outstretched hands?

9. Noticeable weight loss?

  1. A new “best friend” who is looking out for their money (could be an indication of financial elder abuse)?  Investment/business opportunity brochures lying around or being talked about excessively?

  2. An apparent change in short-term memory.

  3. A new romantic interest if single, especially if the romantic interest is much younger.

Should you be concerned if you see any of these signs?  Yes you should.  What you do about being concerned will depend upon the relationship you have with your parents and other loved ones.  You want to protect them from harm, but need to respect their need to stay as independent as possible for as long as possible.  It is a fine balance.  I have highlighted some things to look for during this perhaps once or twice per year opportunity to notice changes.  The rest is up to you.

On a personal note, I have been there with aging parents…and still am to a certain extent.  It has not been easy.  At the end of the day you take comfort in knowing that you always did the best you could, and always with the best of intentions. 

Wishing you happy holidays and the best for you and yours in 2014.

Disclaimer: Raymond Smith, The Long Term Care Specialist, does not give legal or tax advice.  Consult your tax advisor or attorney for these matters.

 

© Raymond Smith, The Long Term Care Specialist, 2013