Watching an elderly family member — be it your mother, father or aunt — slowly lose independence as they age is a scenario millions of family caregivers live with each and every day. Whether this dependance is due to increased frailty or the progression of a chronic condition such as Alzheimer’s, the family of an elderly person should be diligent to make sure their loved one is receiving the proper care. With this in mind, PBS’s Caring for Your Parents resource center has a comprehensive guide as to help you determine what type of care may be needed, from professional home care to a skilled nursing facility.Â Below is a sampling of some of PBS’s assessments, which can be carried out by the family caregiver or a professional senior care agency.
Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
This assessment gathers information on your elder’s ability to manage ADLs, such as personal care and house work. It also answers questions about physical limitations and memory problems:
- Is your loved one able to do housework, laundry, shopping and cooking?
- How well does your loved more maintain personal care (bathing, dressing, using the toilet, etc.)?
- Does your loved one manage medical appointments and medications?
- Is your loved one able to handle personal finances and legal issues?
Physical Health Considerations
Consult with your loved one’s primary care physician or a geriatric specialist to evaluate his or his physical capacities. Things to consider:
- Mobility — Can your elderly father safely maneuver around his home or neighborhood?
- Vision — Many elders do not report their vision problems to health care providers, reports PBS, even though trouble with seeing commonly leads to reduced social interaction, depression and injuries from falls.
- Hearing — Like poor vision, hearing deficits can also affect one’s quality of life. Many people are surprised to find out just how advanced modern hearing aid technology is, so be sure to report any problems with your elder’s hearing problems to a specialist.
Other assessment areas include mental health considerations, nutrition considerations and putting all the information together to create a clear picture of the capabilities of the elderly person.Â PBS notes that answering these questions with a home care agency will make the conversation more useful and productive. And, most importantly, it will lead to the best elderly care possible for your loved one.
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