Did You Know?

To make informed decisions about how you wish to be treated if you experience a life-threatening illness, consider obtaining an Advance Directive that will allow your choices to be respected.  The Maryland Office of the Attorney General has excellent information on the web here under “Health Policy” 

Maryland Emergency Response Personnel who arrive in response to a 911 call will only honor the Maryland MOLST form found at www.marylandmolst.org

Elder Care Information & Resources

How to know if an elder needs help - Check list

Most elders recognize some of the signs themselves, and don’t often share their feelings about it. If possible, talk about your observations with the elder. Invite their input. One of the things elders fear more than anything else is that their children or loved ones will see them failing, and will try and take control without asking their opinion.

If you feel concern about an elder in your life then you’re probably observing signs of aging. Don’t ignore the signs. Read on to make an informal assessment about the elder’s ability to be independent. If the signs and symptoms listed below mirror what you’re seeing, its time to get some assistance.

Physical Changes

“Dad doesn’t seem motivated to do anything. I think it’s more than being depressed. He won’t even walk out to get the mail anymore. And there’s nothing in the frig!”

  • Your elder may need companionship for reminders, errands and/or provide transportation.
  • Decreased strength and mobility, or alterations in balance necessitates stand-by support
  • Trouble standing and walking from a seated position
  • Weight loss, dry skin. Are they ignoring proper nutrition or hydration? It is quite common for an elder to eat and drink less because impaired mobility prevents them from getting to the bathroom in time.
  • Agitation, aggression, and mood swings can signal early stage dementia.

Housekeeping:

“Mom has always kept a tidy home, but lately there is a lot of clutter. Things are being put away, but in unusual places.”

  • She seems more tired than usual
  • She is overwhelmed by daily chores and anxious about getting them done
  • She doesn’t seem to notice or care
  • She repeats or loses track of the chores she has done

How to know if an elder needs help

Mail:

“I was surprised the last time I dropped by. The mail and bills are not being sorted and are piling up.”

  • My friend cannot get to the mailbox or post office as often as before.
  • He doesn’t care whether the bills are paid or not; he ignores consequences. Sometimes he is quite sure he already paid the bills, and it’s the company that has it wrong.
  • He uses the excuse “everything is junk anyway, and I just wait every three months or so to pay the utilities since I don’t use the phone and electric as much”.
  • He feels too tired to deal with it.
  • He doesn’t realize that it has been ignored; thought they already handled it.

Nutrition:

"My parents tell me they’re eating, but they appear to be losing weight."

  • Shopping and preparing food is becoming more difficult.
  • Since mom has died, dad doesn’t know how to use the stove.
  • My folks eat frozen dinners week after week.
  • My parents’ idea of “eating” is different than mine (a can of soup, a carrot, frozen rolls, etc.).
  • They keep telling me they have no appetite and neglect their nutrition.
  • The food in the fridge is old; there are multiples of things in the cupboards.
  • I’m seeing some signs of confusion in the kitchen. My mom has poor eyesight.

Hygiene:

“Dressing and/or hygiene seems to be a problem. My dad is wearing the same clothes every day. I asked mom and dad about it.”

  • Laundry does get done – but since the washer is in the basement, mom is letting it pile up so she doesn’t have to go up and down as much.
  • Mom says, “I realize I haven’t taken a shower, but I’m afraid I might slip.”
  • Mom says, “I really don’t do much physical activity, so why take a bath?”
  • Dad says “I don’t go anywhere so who cares? Besides, I’m not dirty.”
  • Both parents look confused when I mention bathing.

Finances

“The checking account is in disarray or taxes have not been paid.

  • Mom has difficulty doing simple arithmetic or can’t seem to stay focused on the task.
  • My friend is aware that the checkbook is not correct, but might be fearful of confiding that it has become too difficult to do.
  • Dad is overwhelmed by tasks that used to be simple to do.
  • I think it might be that his writing unsteady or difficult; she can’t seem to see well.
  • My folks don’t care or don’t seem to even think about it.

Memory & Mood:

“My folks just seem so irritable. I feel like our roles are reversed. They don’t seem like my mom and dad at ALL.”

  • Doctor's appointments are skipped (“Oh – I remembered but I felt fine and didn’t want to make the trip”).
  • Depression is common in the elderly but they often scoff at the idea (wouldn’t you be depressed if you knew you were failing and didn’t want to leave your home?)
  • Minor irritation and agitation is often a sign of fear. Fear of forgetting, fear of losing control, fear of unfamiliarity.
  • The elder is missing social functions, church, etc. This could also be because of fear of getting lost, falling, or not being able to hear well. (Hearing loss can be exhausting for elders because of the strain and tenseness that results from trying to concentrate on hearing the spoken word– let along understanding the word).

Driving:

"I saw dad driving the other day, but I noticed he was well under the speed limit."

  • When I talk to him about it, he remembers the errand that day, however he mentioned that the road looked slick and he was being careful.
  • Mom looks uncomfortable when I bring it up and says she is sure not to drive at night.
  • Dad mentions the car is just too old, and he needs a newer, smaller model.
  • Mom talks about there being too much traffic and she just doesn’t feel comfortable driving.
  • Your folks have asked for the “easiest way to get to church – the regular way takes too long”.

Call us.  Let us know how we can help.