NEW YORK, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- "As our fathers age, they want to remain independent, not be a burden, and -- no offense -- they usually don't want to move in with their children," says Dr. Dan Tobin, Founder and CEO of Care Support of America and a nationally recognized expert on eldercare and family caregiving. "Helping your Dad safely age at home can be the best gift -- and the best Father's Day gift -- you can give him, once you notice even small changes in his ability to get around."
"Remember Men are from Mars? Men do not often express their feelings freely or at all. So if your father is living alone, it will be harder for you to know how he is doing," Dr. Tobin says. "The hardest part may be getting your Dad to open up about practical and emotional issues."
Dr. Tobin advises: "Go slow and steady. Approach one issue at a time. Fathers may want to appear as if they're always in control, even when things have begun to slip. Let your Dad know that you are there to help without getting in his space. In order to assess how he's doing living on his own, here is a checklist of issues for you to explore with him. Then, if there are problems, you can address them, and find your father the help he'll need to stay independent."
Activity and Connectedness
"The most important indicators for wellness in aging are staying physically active and staying connected to others or to a community. Does your Dad appear to be slowing down? Is he less mobile? Is he exercising, interacting with his neighbors, or participating in senior-activity programs? We tend to look away from physical changes that are important in supporting our Dads."
"When you visit your father at his home, look around and get a quick reading on whether he could use help with home repairs or housecleaning. Remember to think about preventing falls, which cause serious problems as your Dad ages."
"Is your father eating properly? What's in his refrigerator?"
"Is your Dad's strength or mobility reduced in any way? Would he benefit from, or even enjoy using, any adaptive devices from low tech to high, such as kitchen utensils or tools with bigger grips, or a webcam or an e-mail device for seniors?"
"Driving may be one of the most difficult issues to discuss. Men almost always resist the need to stop driving. Your Dad's driving skills need to be re-assessed in light of vision, responsiveness, hearing, and night vision. If his driving is restricted, be willing to compromise -- maybe driving only in the daytime or in familiar places. You can also help in setting him up with alternative transportation services."
"If your Dad has not discussed family finances with you before, be aware that finances can be one of the most personal parts of family dynamics. You can start by finding out if your Dad's personal finances are in order -- bills, rent, mortgage, credit cards, taxes, etc. Does he have enough money for extras? If his budget is stretched, you can try to find free services in his community. If possible, you can also offer to pay for services such as home health aides, home repairs, cleaning services, transportation, and entertainment."
"Often an individualized family plan goes a long way to show your Dad that the entire family is mobilized around giving him the gift he really, really wants for Father's Day -- independence and support," Dr. Tobin says.
Family care managers, like Care Support of America, can help, particularly if you're in a distant city. They can professionally organize a problem list and assess any pressing issues, including home safety, locating credible home services, understanding the basic finances of wellness in aging, and how best for families to support their father's independence.
About Dr. Dan Tobin
Dan Tobin, MD, is Founder and CEO of Care Support of America a national family care manager service. He is an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry (health psychology) at Dartmouth Medical School and the author of books and articles on eldercare issues and positive solutions to family caregiving problems.
About Care Support of America
Care Support of America (http://www.caresupportofamerica.com) is an independent family care manager service that helps identify and solve family caregiving problems to provide trusted guidance as your parents age. The service begins with a personal family care manager on the phone, working with a local nurse, to locate and mobilize trusted home care resources in the parent's community; help you understand their doctor's treatment plans and information; help insure that parents remain independent in their home; and answer questions about Medicare, long-term insurance, and basic finances. Care Support of America has provided family care manager services in 32 states.
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Dan Tobin, MD
|SOURCE Care Support of America|
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