Ah, the holiday season has arrived.
Delicious treats, music in the air, and quality time with family and friends right? But let’s get real for a moment, because often this time of year is anything but peaceful. I don’t know about you, but starting in October my schedule starts to book up, work kicks into high gear, and the extra time with family reminds me of all the things I’d like to do to keep them safe and healthy.
The holidays give us an opportunity for togetherness but also problem solving. Those sneaking suspicions we’ve had all year come to the forefront. We see that our loved one may not be as mentally sharp, physically able, socially connected, or healthy as they were last year. It can feel overwhelming to try and talk about these things, let alone know where to turn. Do not fear, The Care Plan is here with your Holiday Caregiver Checklist!
The first step is recognizing the signs that your loved one may need assistance. Pay attention to the details and use this checklist to assess if it’s time for you to call The Care Plan.
- Body odor or resistance to changing clothes
- Smell or traces of urine or stool in the bathroom, on their person, or chairs/bed, etc
- Difficulty standing up and sitting down
- Is it hard for them to get around the home? (for example, do they sleep on the couch to avoid the stairs to the bedroom)
- Safety concerns such as clutter, rugs, tangled cords, no smoke alarm, plumbing issues etc.
- No signs of showering during your visit
- Have there been recent falls or hospitalizations?
- Scratches, dents, or other signs of damage to the car, reports of accidents
- Do you have other concerns about their safety?
Memory & Emotional Wellbeing
- Withdrawing or lack of communication
- Repetition in conversation
- Missed medications
- Can’t find often used items like the checkbook, phone, or keys
- Complaints of loneliness, not seeing anyone
- Clear long-term memories but can’t remember details of the recent past
- Calling family members the wrong name (for example, if your grandmother calls you by her sister’s name)
- Do you have other concerns about their mental health or memory?
- Are bills or mail piling up?
- Do they talk about winning money or sending money to someone who calls them?
- Do they know where the checkbook is and how much money is in their accounts?
- Have they met with their financial planner recently
- Do they have paperwork in order for taxes? Have they submitted taxes the last few years
- Do you have other concerns about their finances or ability to manage them?
A critical part of ensuring quality of life is choosing who will make decisions when your loved one is no longer able to. Taking the time to discuss and complete these documents will help decrease anxiety and stress later on. For more detailed information on Advance Directives, check out this video.
- Power of Attorney for Health
- Power of Attorney for Estate
- Living Will or 5 Wishes
- Traditional Will with Estate Plan
- Eldercare Attorney to work with on asset protection and Medicaid Planning
If you are observing gaps in your loved one’s care, the time to act is truly now. If your loved one is able to make decisions, sit down and discuss what their concerns might be and how you can support them. If your loved one is unwilling or unable to participate, you can start by setting up a meeting or conference call with those closest such as family, friends, or caregivers. Discuss everyone’s concerns, and develop a plan of action to address them.
For those of us concerned about our own aging, the holidays offer a time for reflection and observation that can inform our aging process. When visiting loved ones, pay attention to what is going well, and where the difficulties exist. What do you want for yourself in terms of location, housing, care, and perhaps most importantly - who will make decisions for you if you are no longer able to? Get started today with creating your plan.
This long term planning process is often where we begin with clients. It can be hard to self-facilitate a group of family or friends, and having a third party guide the conversation is incredibly helpful. If you’d like to have a Peace of Mind Consultation over the holiday season, please reach out. We’re happy to support wellness for your loved ones and lighten the load for you.
We wish you a healthy and enjoyable holiday season, thank you for being a part of The Care Plan Community. Reach out at 630-479-0083 or email@example.com with any questions.