Does my elderly loved one need assistance to live independently at home?
Living independently with dignity is something that everyone values. Most people would prefer to remain in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible versus relocating to a residential facility. But at what point do you say to your elderly loved one, “…it’s time for me to get the help you need, just so I know that you are safe.”
With the holidays comes the opportunity to re-connect with family. Along with the hubbub and frolicking, you may have noticed changes with elderly loved ones. For example…
The jovial, joke-cracking Uncle Ted has become more withdrawn and recluse – Your favorite Aunt seems confused and disoriented – Your grandmother is exhausted from taking care of your grandfather
Whatever the situation, the change is noticeably there and it caused the red flag of concern to rise.
Everyone treats these flags of concern differently. Some try to take over the situation with great intentions but are met by opposition. Some try to ignore the situation with the hopes that their loved one will get better. Whatever the tactic, know this; there are reasons for your concern.
According to the Administration on Aging a large percentage of adults 65 and older have some type of disability making it difficult to live independently at home. These disabilities may be loss of hearing, vision impairments, cognitive issues, ambulation, or self-care. In 2010, 37% of our older population (defined by the Administration on Aging as individuals 65 plus) in the US reported to have some type of disability which limited their ability to live independently at home. And as we age, the number of disabilities per person increases. Nearly 30% of the 80 plus population require some type of assistance to help them with every day activities; such as dressing, cooking, managing money; and driving.
This is the introduction to a four part series to help families recognize when and how to get help for their elderly loved ones. At the end of this series we will provide a free e-book of invaluable information for families who are caring for elderly loved ones. We welcome your thoughts, comments, and your personal stories throughout our series. We want this to be an invaluable forum for all. Our next post will be January 16 entitled, “Falls and Prevention Tips.”