December 02, 2008 // Franchising.com // In addition to spreading cheer and enjoying the company of those you love, holiday gatherings are also the perfect time to "check" on aging family members about whom you may have concerns. Because holiday visits typically tend to be longer than other visits throughout the year, they provide an excellent opportunity to observe an aging family member and determine if certain behaviors are typical of the aging process or perhaps a valid reason for concern.
"Extended visits enable family members to observe aging loved ones in a variety of situations," said Emma Dickison, president of Home Helpers, an in-home, non-medical and personal care company. "It's not unusual to discover that an older loved one may be struggling unnecessarily and trying to hide problems from others because they don't want to impose or worry them."
Dickison suggests that families informally evaluate the following areas over the course of a holiday visit. Be careful not to cause alarm or appear disrespectful to the person you are trying to help.
Illness – Has your loved one been diagnosed with a disease or illness that could affect his/her functional ability and daily living?
Driving – Is there reason to believe your loved one is above average risk for becoming involved in an accident?
Nutrition – Is your loved one eating well-balanced meals? Is his/her weight stable? Does he/she have a reasonable variety of food in the refrigerator (with future expiration dates)?
Hygiene – How does your loved one look and smell, including his/her breath? Has his/her overall appearance slipped? Are bed linens and towels clean? Can he/she manage the laundry?
Daily Tasks – Are basic tasks becoming overly challenging, frustrating or time consuming for your loved one?
Medication – Can your loved one manage his/her medications, including dosage, frequency and changes to prescriptions?
Finances – Does it appear your loved one is capable of making sound financial decisions? Is he/she able to manage personal finances?
Mail – Is your loved one's mail stacking up? Do you see any past due or delinquency notices?
Safety – Is your loved one careful about turning off appliances and extinguishing cigarettes/candles? Is your loved one's limited mobility putting him/her in danger (climbing stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub, etc.)
If a family member has a concern with one or more of these issues, it may be time to explore some preemptive alternatives that can aide your aging loved one age in place in the comfort and security of their home. Often, there are simple things you can do to provide assistance. By having a plan in place, you reduce the opportunity of a future crisis.
Home Helpers is committed to making life easier for its clients by providing an unsurpassed level of non-medical and personal care. Established in 1997, Home Helpers was ranked the #1 Senior Care Franchise in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and "Best of the Best" by Entrepreneur magazine and "Top 10 Franchise" by Inc. based on information including size, growth and franchisee support. Home Helpers franchises are independently owned and operated in more than 500 markets across North America. Home Helpers is affiliated with Direct Link® In-home Emergency Monitoring. Home Helpers was founded and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.