Noticing Changes in Your Loved Ones After the Holidays
The whirl of the holiday season is behind us, and while you’re left with happy memories, you may be recalling unusual instances and paying more attention to the irregularities in your older relatives’ home or behaviour.
Maybe, you are starting to wonder if these odd occurrences were not due to holiday stress but may happen more frequently for them and may be a sign that they need some help.
If you’re nervous to talk to your loved one about long-term care, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many people are tongue-tied when it comes to discussing their older loved one’s abilities to remain independent. However, it’s important to begin the conversation, no matter how uncomfortable, so your older loved one’s wishes can be honored when they can no longer advocate for themselves.
Signs It's Time to Talk About Long-Term Care
There are several signs to look for, and you may have noticed some of these during the holiday season as you spent more time with your older loved ones.
Condition of their home: Was the dining room table covered in newspapers, unanswered mail and bills? Did Mom still have Halloween decorations out? Cluttered and messy homes can be an indication your loved one needs help.
Hygiene and clothing: Were they bathing regularly, brushing their teeth and changing clothes on a daily basis? More importantly, their clothing selection should have made sense. For example, did Grandpa knock at your door for a holiday visit while wearing sneakers and shorts while it’s snowing?
Cognition: Confusion and forgetfulness are both important factors to consider. Has your loved one consistently missed their doctor appointments? Did Dad forget to take medications or turn the oven off after baking his famous pumpkin pie? Was Nana confused when you talked to her about her favourite TV show?
Emotions: Mood swings and changes in their personality are important signs as well. Did your loved one get easily upset or frustrated? Was your normally outgoing aunt refusing to participate in caroling or choir practice? Did she appear withdrawn?
If the answers to these questions are yes, then you should speak to your loved one about the advantages of long-term care.
Having the Talk With Your Loved One About Care Options
Consider having the talk now since all the stress and activity of the holidays has faded. Let them know you love them and would like to talk about the future. Remember it is not an intervention, and you don’t want anyone to become withdrawn or defensive.
Before you begin expressing concerns, outline an agenda of what you wish to say and give time for your loved one to speak without interruption. Be sure to look at all of the caregiving options available: assisted living facilities, adult daycare, etc. If your loved wants to continue living at home, as most adults do, there is an alternative you should consider: home care.
Home care provides assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and getting dressed. It is an effective solution for older adults who prefer to remain at home where they can maintain daily routines, favourite activities and quality of life in a familiar setting.