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What to Look for when Home for the Holidays

12/23/2014 11:50am

The holidays are often spent with family members, some who don’t see each other the rest of the year. This may be the best time to observe how an older loved one is doing and determine if help is needed in the home.

“Just because a parent or grandparent is of a certain age does not mean they will need help. Often parents or grandparents will not come out and ask for help directly, but there may be indicators that they could use some assistance at home,” says Julie Alicki, Community Living Program Consultant at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “The holidays can be a good time to observe older family members at home, or in your home, to see if there are any concerns about their safety living alone. In-home care is often a viable option to help individuals stay independent in their own home.”

Alicki recommends looking for the following signs that a loved one may need help at home:

  1. Observe for changes to their appearance or home.  Are their clothes clean? Do they seem or appear not to be bathing?​  Do they struggle with keeping their home clean?
  2. Take an inventory of medications. Are there more pills in a bottle than should be based on the prescriptions fill date and dosage information? Also look for old or outdated medication.
  3. What is in the refrigerator? Do they have a lot of old or spoiled food?
  4. Examine their car and their driving.  Are there new dings or dents on the car that would indicate recent accidents? When riding with them do you witness slower reaction times, or other safety issues on the road?
  5. How are their finances? Do you see late notices/past due or shut off letters or warnings lying around?
  6. Watch how they walk and get up and down. Do you see them struggling with balance or is going up and down stairs or getting up from a chair difficult for them?

These signs don’t automatically mean someone needs help in the home, but can be good indicators to begin conversations about in-home care options.  

“Most older adults want to stay in their own homes as they age and there are a number of choices for them to do so,” says Alicki. “In home care is not just for those who can afford to pay out of pocket, there are programs to help individuals with low incomes stay in their homes too.”

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan helps older adults and individuals with disabilities live in their homes with independence and dignity. For more information, visit the In-Home Care section on our site, or contact us at (616) 456-5664 or (888) 456-5664.

Comments

#1 Jennie said:

Do you provide an assessment service to help a senior and her family determine what assistance would be beneficial and how those services can be obtained? That would be very helpful.

#2 Webmaster said:

Jennie, this information was also emailed to you, but our initial intake assessment is done by telephone. Anyone may call our main number (888) 456-5664, and ask for the Intake Department. You will speak with a staff member who will ask some questions about your individual situation and help determine what programs may be most appropriate. One of those programs is the Choices for Independence Program. This program is available to individuals age 60 or older. The program provides the services of an Independent Living Consultant to help people plan how best to use available resources for the care they need to remain in their home. The consultant meets with seniors in their homes and may discuss community resources and informal support provided by family or friends. Family members are encouraged to participate in this discussion if that is the individual's choice.

Our Intake staff are very knowledgeable and can provide helpful information as well as direction to a large array of community resources. Please do not hesitate to call us. Most calls are answered or returned on the day they are received.

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
3215 Eaglecrest Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-456-5664 or 888-456-5664 • Fax: 616-456-5692

aaainfo@aaawm.org

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