Caregiving When Family Isn’t Around
Today’s families seem to be scattered all around the globe for a variety of reasons, ranging from job to furthering education. What this means for today’s aging society is that many are aging alone, without close family around to help or even know what goes on in the day to day life of their loved one.
Many years can go by without obvious signs coming across when you talk to your loved one on the phone that can lead you to believe there could be problems. Perhaps they don’t answer the phone on a “bad day,” perhaps they keep conversations short to avoid too many questions, and they can make up events and happenings to make it sound like they’re keeping busy. Every once in a while they may repeat something or forget they told you something, but that’s normal in aging right?
Questions You Should Be Asking
As your loved one ages, if you and other family members aren’t nearby and checking on them often you need to take precautions that they are remaining safe. There has to be a time when someone visits your loved one and checks on how they are doing. This involves taking a trip to their home and at staying with them for at least a week to see how they are managing everyday life tasks. It is also important that they visit their doctor while you are with them so you can present any questions, hear all of the issues they are dealing with physically and mentally, and most of all get a proper diagnosis of dementia should they have signs.
While visiting you need to find out how they are functioning and perhaps do some of your own investigating with these questions:
- Is their home clean & liveable or has it become cluttered and unkempt?
- Are they taking their medications regularly, as directed or are they sometimes forgetting?
- Do they know what day or date it is?
- Speak with their doctor & ask if there has been any noticeable difference in cognizance.
- Is their hygiene acceptable?
- Do they have a group of friends, neighbors, church members that they associate with on a regular basis?
- Ask to meet with some of their friends. Have them over for tea or get together for lunch.
- Check their bills to see that they are being paid regularly & not behind. Notice any odd checks or money removal on their statements.
- Ask questions that they should typically know “When was your anniversary? What’s your birthday again? What do you think about the president… Oh, what’s his name again? Whatever happened to your friend ‘so & so’?” These questions are subtle ways to see how their memory is and will help you see if there is memory loss that you should be concerned with.
Get Diagnosed For Dementia
According to a study by the American Academy of Neurology* approximately 55% of people with dementia have never had a physician evaluate their thinking or memory skills. This means that approximately 1.8 million Americans 70 and over who have dementia have never had an evaluation of their cognitive abilities; but worse than the lack of diagnosis is that IF dementia is diagnosed early on a person’s quality of life is generally much better, much longer.
Your loved one deserves the right to be properly diagnosed so you can take the steps needed to have caregivers with them in a manner that best serves them. It also allows them to remain at home much longer, if not even until the end. Because Caring Connections offers in home caregivers who are trained specifically to serve our clients inside their Baltimore County or Hartford County homes (and surrounding Maryland areas) we can serve them in a number of ways whether it’s for dementia or any other reason for your loved one being unable to keep up with every day chores. We’re facing a caregiving crisis sooner than we think and with fewer senior care facilities available more people are turning to unprofessional caregivers. When it comes to someone you love they deserve qualified, caring and well trained caregiving in the comfort of their home.
Photo by MLazarevski
*AAN -November 26, 2014, Study: Most People with Dementia Never Have Screening