November 2012- First Place To Visit

While you are visiting during the holidays, you may notice some signs that your parent may be struggling.  This issue is dedicated to informing you of options in helping your parents keep their independence and autonomy as long as possible.

First Place To Visit

The first place to visit when you feel your parent may need some help is the Area Agency on Aging.
information available to seniors.  It was originally formed to help older adults through the journey of aging as an initiative of the Dept. of Health and Senior Services.  TheAAAs offer care management, information and assistance, adult day services, senior centers, Meals On Wheels, respite services, assistance during the Open Enrollment period of Medicare options, tax assistance, legal assistance and more.
Caregiver Tip No. 1  Arrange Help 
Help select and arrange services to help your parent remain in their home such as yard maintenance, home repair services, gutter cleaning and housekeeping assistance.
As adults age, they may not feel as comfortable driving in inclement weather but still may need to make that trip to the drug store or grocery store.  There are many places that deliver now, i.e. drug stores, grocery stores, dry cleaning and laundry stores.  Check to see what is available in their area.  Offer to take them where they need to go or hire someone to do it.  This may be a way to earn money for a grandson or granddaughter who has not had their license that long and needs the experience of driving.  They will be less likely to drive recklessly with an older adult in the car.

Caregiver Tip No. 2
Complete A Home Safety Checklist

Here is the link to AARP’s Home Safety
Fear of Losing Autonomy and Independence
Older adults are afraid of losing their independence and autonomy.  They are fearful that if someone notices that they are not able to handle their own affairs, their children will take over and they will
no longer have any control.  Their fears are not unwarranted.  Many children will come in and just take over.  This makes an older adult feel helpless and unneeded.  They need a sense of purpose.  What can they do now with changing conditions?  Sometimes, just having supports put in place can make a difference.

8 Tips for Being Pro-Active As a Family Caregiver

  1. Discuss what they will do when they can no longer drive
  2. Discuss how they will pay for care when they need more assistance
  3. Talk about how you can support them in being independent.
  4. Inquire about what makes their life worthwhile.
  5. Develop a Plan for maintaining doctor, dental, eye, hearing and other necessary visits.  Who will accompany them?
  6. What legal documents have they put in place to manage their life when they can’t.
  7. Talk about the strengths they have that can help them get through tough times.
  8. Ask what they would like you to do to help them stay independent?

Caregiver Tip No. 3
Develop An Emergency Plan

Website that guides you in creating an emergency preparedness plan.
Concerned But Don’t Live Close By?
If you don’t live close, hire a Geriatric Care Manager who lives in their area and knows all the resources.  They will conduct an assessment and give you an accurate picture of how things are working out for your parents as well as what they will need from you.  You can then decide how to proceed.  Go to the website input your parent’s zipcode to find a Care Manager in their area.You may also want to pick up a copy of the local Older Adult Resource Guide.  The Area Agency on Aging or United Way will know where to find this information.


Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 5th!

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