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As a result of assisting hundreds of families throughout Lorain and Cuyahoga County area during this difficult process, here is some advice based on experiences we encounter every day while working with these families. Below are next steps that you and your family should follow:
1.Discuss situation with individual - Don’t be afraid to ask or talk to your aging family members. Often seniors will not tell you if they are having trouble unless you ask. It is important to reassure seniors about your questions. They do not want to lose their independence and are afraid of being moved out of their home into a strange environment. Let them know about other care alternatives before you ask questions such as: Are you having trouble walking? Have you fallen? Do you have trouble driving at night?
2.Make a doctor’s appointment for individual – Be sure and make appointment when you, another family member or someone else can relay concerns directly to doctor. Sometimes these warning signs can be a direct result of outdated medication or perhaps a dosage that needs to be changed.
3.Determine what services are available in your community – Talk with your local social service agencies or community organizations such as Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging. It’s important to weigh all of your options when it comes to providing best care for your family member.
4.Make minor adjustments in their lifestyle – It may be necessary to bring in outside help to provide companionship and to assist with daily activities such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, trips to their doctor’s appointments, etc. These precautions and changes can be done while allowing your loved one to stay in comfort of their own home. But be cautious about hiring independent caregivers – you or your parent will be responsible for paying payroll taxes, worker’s compensation insurance, as well as screening and hiring caregiver. Many reputable companies now exist that carefully screen their caregivers, handle all of employment issues, provide on-going training, as well as taking care of bonding and insurance.
5.Use this time to plan ahead for unforeseen events – This is good advice for everyone, not just seniors! Take this time to establish advanced directives including establishing a power of attorney, will, living will, etc. There is no such thing as being too prepared.
Remember, holiday season is a time for family, togetherness and establishing lifelong memories. By taking time to address these issues before they reach crisis stage, your family will have much-needed sense of security, comfort and hopefully ability to create new memories with your aging loved ones for many years to come!
Comfort Keepers can provide guidance and assistance to families throughout Lorain and Cuyahoga County area. Comfort Keepers offers companionship and other non-medical services for aging adults, new mothers and others needing assistance. In-home services include personal care services, companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, transportation and more. Comfort Keepers does not utilize independent contractors. All caregivers are hired employees who are carefully screened, bonded and insured. If you are in need of assistance or are interested in learning more about Comfort Keepers, please call (440) 734-1111 or (440) 934-7575 or visit www.comfortkeepers.com.
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Gina is co-owner of Comfort Keepers in Cleveland Ohio and can be reached at 440-934-7575