If you travel or plan to see family this Thanksgiving, pay particular attention to your aging parents or relatives. Do you notice any significant changes in their health or personality? Do they seem to have difficulty with small tasks? Being observant is essential to successful caregiving and planning.
If you find yourself worrying about changes in your aging relatives, don’t ignore your instinct. Using our suggestions below, try starting a conversation to find out if they need assistance to live a healthy, full life.
1) Approach your aging relative separately from the larger group and speak casually at first.
2) Share a relevant newspaper, magazine or online article with them to lead the conversation.
3) Give your full attention to every response.
4) Resist the urge to criticize answers.
5) Encourage wellness, regular exercise, and home renovations for aging in place.
6) Relate a real life story concerning a friend who put off asking for help until a crisis arose.
7) Keep your questions brief and establish that you want to preserve their lifestyle and independence, not interfere in their lives.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetimes. Whether you become a family caregiver or use the skills of a geriatric care manager, opening the lines of communication now makes it easier when changes occur in the future. Be proactive to allow older adults to stay independent for as long as possible and ask for the help they need.