The New Year is here and for many people that means time for change. However, having just visited older loved ones during the holidays, you may have concerns about changes you noticed in their lives such as:
- How did they look? Are they noticeably heavier or thinner? Do they stoop or stand upright? Have their looks changed in any significant way?
- How is their balance? A balance problem could indicate a medication problem, an incorrect eyeglass prescription, or worse and warrants a visit to the doctor.
- Were their clothes rumpled or soiled when they used to be immaculate?
- Did they appear to have issues with memory? Were they struggling to perform what use to be routine tasks? Have they become quiet and withdrawn?
- Was the house clean and well-kept, or does it need more maintenance than usual?
- Does the stairway have handrails; is it well lit? Are carpet coverings tight or wood non-slippery?
- How’s their driving? How was their reaction time? Do they miss signs and make risky maneuvers? Have they been in any fender benders since your last visit?
- Were there late notices in their mail? Had the mail even been opened? Were bills stacking up?
- Are there bills they can’t pay?
Many in the “sandwich generation” are experiencing the daunting tasks of a new life stage that includes helping parents or older family members stay as independent, healthy and as safe as possible while they navigate the complex myriad of living and care options. It can be overwhelming.
Throughout other major life transitions, experts often provide guidance and support, such as:
- Guidance Counselors offer advice to high school seniors.
- Wedding Planners help couples bring their special day to life.
- Financial Planners assist parents in setting up college funds.
- Realtors educate people on what to look for and how to purchase their first home.
- Personal Trainers support people as they go after their New Year’s goals.
Fortunately, experts in senior care, with titles like: Eldercare Consultant, Senior Placement Advisor, or Care Manager, offer expertise, support and guidance to families and seniors as they go through these transitions. Many have been through this same process with their loved ones. Some services are provided on a fee basis and others (like assistance in finding senior living) are often provided at no charge to the client because the agency is paid a commission by the communities, much like a Realtor.
Examples of how or when these care experts can be helpful:
- A family feels like a loved one is no longer safe living at home alone. Experts like these can help evaluate options for in-home care, adult day care programs or moving to a senior community with services. The agencies can research to compare options, summarize expenses and provide names of resources to contact.
- Often these agencies are especially helpful to adult children who live out of the area or have extremely busy work lives and can’t be there for appointments, etc. In those cases, the agencies can provide support on a scheduled basis, and provide updates to the family on their loved one.
- Financing senior living can be confusing. Senior care experts can explain the types of financing each community will accept and if there’s a required period of private pay. They can recommend financial planning experts, help families apply for Medical Assistance and explore other sources of funding such as: VA benefits for qualified vets and spouses when appropriate.
Change can be hard, but it is easier when an expert provides guidance during the process. As you help your parents or older loved ones navigate the wide range of care options available, consider engaging an expert in senior care to make the process more productive, efficient, and less stressful. We’re here to help!
EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org