A Seasonal Senior Check-In
With the holiday season approaching, families and friends who may not have been together all year converge to spend time with loved ones. This is the perfect time to look for any changes to an elder’s appearance, mobility, memory, or behavior.
Observing how a senior moves is critical in assessing modifications to live safer. Are they balanced, are they holding onto the furniture for balance, are they bumping into things, or having trouble getting up or sitting down? Are there signs of falls or bumps and bruises? A holiday visit can be a good time to gently probe for details of daily life.
We know that a fall, no matter how minor, is often a warning of a more serious fall ahead, when one out of five results in broken bones or head injuries. A misstep, a brief wobble, water on the bathroom floor, or inadequate lighting, may lead to a broken hip (95% caused by falling sideways) or another debilitating life-changing accident.
We often miss possible movement and vision hazards due to familiarity with the layout of the family home. Elders do not always report falls, or even near-falls, to family or doctors. They may forget to do so, or consider it inconsequential, or they may fear the loss of their independence without considering the possible problems of staying silent. Use the holiday season to look at their home with fresh eyes.
Installing grab bars is a great first step, but should our parent continue climbing out of a bathtub or shower on to a wet floor? Should they consider moving to the first floor to sleep? If so, is there a roll-in shower in a first-floor bathroom or room to create one? There are many considerations to be aware of in choosing to age in place beyond just renovating a bathroom. There should be an evaluation of needs that will change over time in homes that were not built with aging in mind. It should be the first step in planning to age at home, but few are trained to evaluate individual health and movement within a familiar living environment.
The earlier a home is made safer, the longer elders are likely to be able to live in their own home. Positive Living Solutions is as much about prevention to enable safer aging as it is about providing companionship, a medical advocate, or other broad services. Contact us for a consultation before or during the holiday season.