Sometimes, admitting to ourselves that our parents are aging isn’t an easy thing. It is difficult to watch the strong people who raised us with love and care become the ones who need that same tender watchfulness. Whether we want to admit it or not, there are some things that we may need to keep tabs on for their very safety. Here are seven important areas that you should be attentive to:
- VERIFY THE SMOKE ALARMS are working, and that your parent can hear the alarm. If they are deaf or hard of hearing, an audible alarm isn’t going to help. And even if they heard it fine a year ago, it wouldn’t hurt to ask them if they hear it now. Aging means slowing in many cases, and our parents will need all the warning they can get to escape a fire. If hearing is an issue, look into a visual alarm or strobe to alert them in case of fire.
MONITOR MEDICATIONS for accuracy. Whether you decide to spot-check or actually administer the meds daily, your parent may not be getting correct dosages due to forgetfulness. This can be a problem if the doses are missed, but it may also lead to overdosing. If you see your parent’s memory faltering, get involved in medications.
- CHECK THE FRIDGE for anything green or growing. Older parents may lose track of time, and they may not realize that the leftover steak was from three weeks ago, not last weekend. Accidental food poisoning is no joke when an elderly person becomes ill, as their immune system may not throw off the toxins as easily as we would.
- BE WARY OF THE STOVE when the memory starts to falter. It may be time to unplug the stove or turn the gas off, and ask them to work with a griddle, waffle iron, toaster, or crock pot. Although not fireproof, these items will likely not burn the house down as quickly as a stove left on or a pot forgotten.
- GET PAPERWORK IN ORDER before something happens. You may find that your parent is reluctant to discuss this issue, but it needs to be covered, in depth and completely. Be sure you have medical and financial powers of attorney, a living will, and a last will. This is one of those things that we all put off, but so often it is the one thing we wish we had pushed to get done. Medical decisions may not be made in the manner that they would wish if paperwork isn’t complete. Afterlife care should be carried out at the will of the parent, and if we don’t have paperwork noting their wishes, that may be difficult.
- MONITOR BANKING to assure that no fraud is being committed on them. If your parent is astute enough to handle their affairs, ask them to just let you help go over the statement. They may not understand what is happening until it is too late, and they may not remember transactions. Today’s banking is nothing like it was during their young adult lives, and sometimes something as simple as using a debit card may be daunting for them. Remembering usernames and passwords is also a challenge. Having a financial power-of-attorney means that you are able to keep them in the safe zone with their finances.
- ELIMINATE TRIP AND FALL HAZARDS for their physical protection. Be sure all area rugs are taped down. If you can’t install a walk-in tub, consider a shower with a low threshold and a seat for them to rest as they shower. A ramp may be a consideration also. Eliminate clutter which may present a hazard.
Watching our parents age can be stressful, difficult, and painful. Avoiding the facts that face us won’t make it easier. You may find that you have peace when you accept the situation and begin to head off any problems before they occur. It may also make your parent rest easier to know you are still looking out for them.
For more information about Your Choice Senior Care call 205-382-6222 in the Birmingham area and 251-599-8101 in Baldwin or Mobile County. To email us directly, please send us a detailed message to: Info@yourchoiceseniorcare.com. We’d love to make your life easier with superior home care you can rely on from a local, family owned, provider. Find us on Facebook for exciting news and events!