A Time to Reassess Care: Part 1

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 6/5/2017 1:52 PM by Interim HealthCare
If you are the main caregiver for an elderly loved one living alone, you might want to take time to reassess your situation. Are you visiting frequently but still constantly getting calls from your elder asking for reassurance? If they are receiving home care nursing, are intermittent visits not enough? Are you concerned about this person’s safety, or thinking of moving them into your home?

The decision to help an aging adult move out of a current home is a complex one -- both emotionally and practically. Above all, you want the person to be safe and well. How can you all feel more confident about whether circumstances suggest that your loved one should no longer be living alone?
Although every situation is different, looking at the following 11 signs will give you valuable information to help make the decision. Keep the big red flags in mind. Certain situations make it more obvious that it's wise to start thinking about alternate living arrangements.

1. Big-picture signs it might be time for a change:

​Look for:

Recent accidents or close calls. Did your loved one take a fall, have a medical scare, or get in a fender bender (or worse)? Who responded and how long did it take? Accidents do happen, but as people get older, the odds rise of them happening again. Did your loved one inform you of the incident or were you notified by someone else?

A slow recovery. How did the person you're caring for weather the most recent illness (for example, a flu or bad cold)? Was he or she able and willing to seek medical care when needed, or did last winter's cold develop into untreated bronchitis?

A chronic health condition that's worsening. Progressive problems such as COPD, dementia, and congestive heart failure can decline gradually or precipitously, but either way, their presence means your loved one will increasingly need help and skilled observation.

Increasing difficulty managing the activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). ADLs and IADLs are the skills needed to live independently -- dressing, shopping, cooking, doing laundry, managing medications, and so on. Doctors, social workers, and other geriatric experts evaluate them as part of a functional assessment, which is one way to get an expert's view of the situation. Difficulties with ADLs and IADLs can sometimes be remedied by bringing in more in-home help. Options you might consider are 24hr home nursing care or a live in nursing assistant, provided by a private nursing agency. These may not be affordable, depending on your loved ones insurance and financial situation. Attend a doctor appointment with your loved one and request the doctor to order an in-home functional assessment and social services consult. A social worker can explore community resources that may be available, or provide recommendations and assistance with the conversation about moving your loved one.