Things to look out for while visiting with elders

Many people plan to travel home or to see relatives this week or next for the holiday season.

Whether you see your elders on a regular basis or just a few times a year, it is important to make sure they are taking care of themselves.

It's a conversation most people don't want to have, especially around the holiday season.

But it's a conversation that could change your loved one's life.

Sue Winking, Director of Bickford Assisted Living in Quincy, says they get a lot of phone calls during this time of year from family members who have come back home from out of town.

"They see their mom or dad or grandparents who may be thinner than they were or they may smell, they are not taking care of their personal needs,” says Winking.

Winking says it’s important to be observant and to make sure your loved ones aren't in need of assisted care.

"They may find medications on the floor, or look at medication bottles and see that they haven't been refilled but they are full so they haven't been taking their medication and the other thing is that there is no food or there is old food in the refrigerator,” says Winking.
Gail Murry with the Quincy Senior and Family Resource Center says, “Go for a ride with them see how they are driving. I know that is a hard choice but sometimes that's an eye opener.”

Murry says it is important for all family members to communicate on your relatives needs but to also be aware.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't become a topic until it is an emergency," says Murry.

And in an emergency, quick decisions are being made which could be overwhelming to the person.

"Elders feel like oh they are against me. They all think I can't stay here, they all think my house needs to go, they all think I need to do this and sometimes maybe one person purposing the position and even though they are all on the same page maybe one starts the conversation but they are not all ganging up on them,” says Murry.
"When you let someone else take care of your family you can just be the daughter again, just be the spouse again,” says Winking.
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