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Does Your Senior Need Help at Home? A Holiday Checklist for Anyone Caring for Seniors

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care as your parents and loved ones prepare for your holiday visit. Over the years, your parents have managed to keep most of familiar traditions that helped define your family's holiday celebrations. Yet, this year, when you arrive, you notice that things don't quite look the same as they did the last time you visited. What's changed? Use this holiday checklist from Home Instead Senior Care if you help care for a senior…

Omaha, NE (PRWEB) December 10, 2008 - You've just arrived at your parents' home for your holiday visit and you notice that something just isn't quite right. Things don't look the same as they did the last time you were there. It's possible that the conditions of aging may be jeopardizing your loved one's health and safety at home. Complete the following checklist from the international caregiving company Home Instead Senior Care. If most of your responses are "yes" that doesn't mean it's time to pack up mom and dad for a move to the nursing home. It could, however, mean that your older loved one might benefit from a little extra help at home.

Look below bathroom and kitchen sinks. Is poor eyesight making it difficult for your elderly relative to read medication labels and to properly store cleaning materials? Is he forgetting to refill medications and to take them on schedule? Check the refill date against the number of pills in the bottle to help determine if your loved one is taking medication regularly. Or call the pharmacy. According to Arcadia Healthcare, at least 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications and seniors - who take 40 percent of all drugs prescribed - are most susceptible.

Look in refrigerator, freezer and drawers. Has food spoiled because mom can't get to the grocery store? Look over the grocery list. Has your loved one's declining health prompted her to purchase more convenience and junk foods, and neglect proper nutrition? Is she losing weight? According to Mayo Clinic, older adults often have health issues that can lead to decreased appetite or trouble eating. These can include chronic illness, medications, difficulty chewing or swallowing and diminished taste and smell.

Look on top of furniture and countertops. Are dust and dirt signs that household tasks are becoming more difficult for your parents? Look down at floors and stairways. Have shaky hands spilled drinks and food, soiling vinyl, wood, carpets and walkways? Are frayed carpets, throw rugs, objects and furniture creating tripping hazards? Look up at fans and ceilings. Has the inability to lift her arms and climb stepstools prevented your loved one from cleaning soot and grime from high places? Caution your senior not to climb. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

Look under beds and sofas. Is your senior having difficulty organizing old newspapers, books and magazines, which are creating a fire hazard? As Americans age, their fire risk increases. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, older adults are 2.5 times more likely to die in fires than the overall population.

Look through the mail. Is mom's dementia causing her to forget to pay bills and answer correspondence? According to the Alzheimer's Association, as many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer's disease, which is characterized by forgetfulness.

Look at your senior's appearance. Is clothing dirty and unkempt, and is your loved one neglecting personal hygiene? According to Mayo Clinic, macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people age 60 and older. Fine newsprint may become harder to read and street signs more difficult to recognize. Gray or blank spots may mask the center of your senior's visual field. The condition usually develops gradually, but sometimes progresses rapidly, leading to severe vision loss in one or both eyes.

Look to your parents' neighbors and other close friends to find out about their daily routine. Are your seniors at home more, watching television and avoiding stimulating conversation and companionship? If your loved one needs help at home, consider contacting Home Instead Senior Care. The company's CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and equipped to help seniors with their home care and companionship needs such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errands and shopping.

For more information about how families can help seniors live at home or about caregiving challenges that families face, contact Dan Wieberg, Public Relations Manager at 888-484-5759.


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