Observe Elders in Need of Help
Have you noticed your elderly parents needing household assistance?
During this holiday season, be observant when visiting elderly family. If you notice a problem in one area, for example: stale food in the refrigerator…this might also be indicative of other problems elsewhere.
The National Council on Aging show that 29% of homeowners over 62 have difficulty or need help with one or more activities of daily living (ADLs). These include the following:
* Meal preparation
* Financial money management
* Using the telephone
With aging comes physical frailty and cognitive difficulties. Tasks which are/were easy can become much more difficult. Does the house seem cluttered and unkept? Are there repairs needed? Forgetfulness is something to notice as it is a sign something is amiss.
Paying bills can be difficult for elders whose hands are arthritic…it hurts to hold the pen! And we have a client who is legally blind, and he is unable to read the small type on the prescription containers in order to determine the identity of his pills.
Some additional warning signs to investigate:
1. The mail is piled up and unopened
Are there stacks of unopened mail in the house? Or on the floor near the mail slot? Certainly much may be “junk mail” of advertising, fliers, etc. But there may be bills to pay, statements from mortgage companies, credit card bills, taxes due, or utility bills that need to be paid. If bills or other mail is not getting opened, you need to address the problem. Do you find bank notices for insufficient funds?
2. Check the voice messages
Listen to voice messages, or check the caller ID logs to keep track of calls. Much may be social in nature, which is another sign that elderly parents are losing contact with friends. But you may also find creditors or bill collectors are contacting your parents.
3. Is there evidence of mishandling money
Sometimes this is difficult to determine. Certainly, there are unscrupulous people who pray on seniors, selling un-needed services or wildly over-inflating invoices. But can you confirm that your seniors are paying attention? Can they still pay for a meal with a credit card? Do they still have some minimal amount of cash in their wallet? If not, something may be wrong.
Utilizing direct deposit for elderly parents can be of great assistance. Rent checks, pension checks, etc. can all be directly deposited, which relieves the necessity of driving and banking.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164