A Seasonal Senior Check-In, Part 2
As I discussed in my last blog, the holidays are a good opportunity to check on parents and other senior loved ones. Be sure to ask friends and neighbors how your parents manage in day-to-day activities—they may be aware of issues your parents have not shared with you.
Elders may hide issues of concern fearing a loss of independence going forward, so how and when we talk with them is as important as what we have to say. Our wanting to keep them safe and healthy may conflict with how they feel losing control at a time of life when they are particularly conscious of their mortality. Show greater understanding and patience, keeping in mind that we may encounter similar problems some day.
As the brain ages along with our body, there can be a tendency towards forgetfulness and repeating stories. This is a normal part of aging, not necessarily a sign of dementia, so be patient despite the number of times you have heard the story of how the luggage went missing or how your great-grandparents met.
What you do want to be alert to is short-term memory loss together with repeated questions over short periods of time as this may be a sign of dementia. Our loved ones are not being forgetful intentionally—confusion in a familiar place, getting lost, the inability to recall having said something over and over, should be an alert to seek professional advice.
Having a professional advocate to accompany them to medical appointments who takes notes, and follows up with recommendations and appointments is often a wise move. Many elders do not want their children to be concerned yet they welcome someone who will explain their concerns to a doctor, including any recent fall that may have occurred.
The holidays can be a good opportunity to raise the idea of a professional advocate or a home visit by a specialist like Positive Living Solutions. Contact us to discuss how we can help.