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Having THE TALK with Mom or Dad

Many of us age quite gracefully and are able to remain with complete independence at quite an advanced age.  In other circumstances, limitations may set in earlier.  Regardless, it is recommended that family members initiate discussions with an elderly or disabled loved one to be sure that his/her physical and emotional needs are being met and discuss options for additional care.  In that regard, Ambassadors Caregivers and Senior Vantage have developed THE TALK, an easy to remember method that outlines points of such a conversation.


T  Transportation concerns   "How safe do you feel when driving?  Is it a hassle obtaining groceries, going to see the doctor, etc.  Are there more dents/scratches on the car?"  
H  How is he/she?   "How are you feeling these days?"  Addressing the emotional needs of seniors cannot be overestimated.  Up to 32% of individuals referred to physicians for dementia are actually suffering from depression.
E  Errors with medications   "Are you having trouble keeping all your medications straight?  Could you show me how you do it?"
T  Transition/Transfers   "It looks like you have a little more trouble getting around the house, huh?  What about getting from your bed to the walker/wheelchair?"  The statistics on falls and risk factors are alarming for seniors.
A  Assistance  "Could you use some help with litte chores around the house?  What about getting yourself ready in the mornings?"
L   Look.  How does he/she look?  Are there signs of weight loss, dehydration, or weakness?  Is Mom no longer caring for herself the way she used to?
K   Kickstart talks about assistance.  "I know you like your independence.  Have you ever considered getting a little help so you can stay as independent as possible?  I was thinking it might be good if you had a little help around the house."  Or "What do you think about maybe making your life a little easier at a nice retirement facility or getting someone to come over and help from time to time?  It would free you from having to worry about as many things."

Senior Care Options
While remaining at home is typically the primary goal and most preferable options for the elderly, some will choose other alternatives. Likewise, home care is not the only option available. There are times when an independent living facility, assisted living facility, or even nursing home may be the best option for a particular client.
Regardless, it is important for families to recognize the need and discuss the options before major issues arise to ensure the best outcomes possible.  When it comes to caring for an elderly parent while respecting his/her wishes, the value of good family communication cannot be overestimated.

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