Is It Time To Have The Conversation - DISCUSSING HEALTH WITH AGING LOVED ONES

Wednesday Sep 07th, 2016

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A Place for Mom expert and geriatrician Leslie Kernisan, MD, provides some guidance on how to spot common health problems and identify which underlying conditions might be causing issues.

LIFE TASKS

Life tasks are fundamental self-care activities that need to be done, whether we do them for ourselves or have someone do them for us. Life tasks include two areas:

1. ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (ADLS)

  • Walking and getting around

  • Dressing

  • Bathing

  • Using the toilet independently

  • Grooming

  • Feeding

    2. INSTRUMENTAL ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (IADLS)

  • Financing

  • Transportation

  • House Cleaning and Chores

  • Shopping

  • Meal Preparation

  • Using the Telephone

    Check the cupboards for groceries and watch your loved one interact with family members and friends. Are they getting around okay, and is their personal hygiene normal? If you notice that something is off with the above life tasks, it may be time to have a conversation.

    SAFETY

    While safety may seem like a priority for families, older loved ones and family members may sacrifice safety or be in denial over the reality of the situation. Here are the areas of safety to watch out for:

    1) FINANCES

  • Are there problems paying bills?

  • Are you concerned about scams?

    2) MEMORY AND THINKING

  • Have there been problems with wandering or getting lost?

  • Have there been issues forgetting about the stove or other appliances / home equipment?

  • Is there concern about poor safety awareness or poor judgment?

    3) DRIVING

  • Have there been any accidents or close calls?

  • Do passengers feel worried?

    A Place for Mom ® | Trusted Senior Living Advisors | Toll-Free (866) 477-0836 | www.aplaceformom.com © Copyright 2016 A Place for Mom, Inc. All rights reserved.

4) ELDER ABUSE

  • Have you heard of, or do you have any concerns about emotional, verbal or physical abuse?

  • Do you have any concerns that someone is financially taking advantage of your loved one?

    5) HEALTH

  • Has your loved one had any falls?

  • Have there been repeated trips to the emergency room or hospital?

    PHYSICAL HEALTH

    Sadly, many seniors live with chronic health problems. But there are some problems that require your attention as they may be red flags or signs that quality of life is at stake or health may be at risk:

  1. Have there been frequent ER visits or hospitalizations?

  2. Are there obvious declines in health or strength?

  3. Have you noticed weight loss or a poor appetite?

  4. Has your loved one complained of pain or other uncomfortable symptoms?

  5. Is there decreased involvement in life activities related to health problems?

  6. Is there anything that worries your loved one about their health?

You may want to consider visiting your loved one’s doctor on the next visit or doing some online research about your loved one’s conditions to help you better understand the problems.

MOOD & BRAIN HEALTH

Does your loved one suddenly seem different? Is there a hint of depression or anxiety that wasn’t there before? Maybe memory problems are affecting their mood. Dr. Kernisan discusses things to watch for in this important area:

  1. Does your loved one have sudden or frequent sadness?

  2. Is there a loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy?

  3. Has there been a personality change?

  4. Does your loved one have hopelessness?

  5. Is your loved one experiencing excessive or unusual worrying?

  6. Are there memory problems?

  7. Have you noticed a difficulty in their learning new things?

  8. Is organization a problem?

  9. Are there new difficulties with mental tasks?

  10. Have you noticed problems in driving?

  11. Have there been mistakes with finances?

  12. Is there unusual spending of money?

  13. Is there a lack of social or purposeful activities?

  14. Does your loved one suddenly seem or feel lonely?

MEDICATION SAFETY & MANAGEMENT

It’s important to be aware and proactive when it comes to your aging loved one’s medication safety. Dr. Kernisan discusses key tactics to identify problems:

  1. Can your loved one afford their prescriptions?

  2. Are they having trouble taking all the prescriptions as recommended?

  3. Are they refilling their medications regularly?

  4. Are they skipping medications?

  5. Are there side effects or worrisome symptoms related to medication?

Dr. Kernisan mentions that there are ways to eliminate unnecessary pills by asking doctors to simplify the medications. There are also common problems, such as pain, depression and arthritis that can be treated with non-drug methods.

A Place for Mom ® | Trusted Senior Living Advisors | Toll-Free (866) 477-0836 | www.aplaceformom.com © Copyright 2016 A Place for Mom, Inc. All rights reserved. 


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