How your loved ones are managing is best seen when you stay a few days overnight. Once you identify concerns do address them in a loving way. State your observation and do remember,often loved ones may not admit or notice what you do and they may feel threatened.
I have heard so many say, "I'll let you know when I need help" but, you may never know when it is necessary to make that decision for your loved o ne.
Ideally, the best gift anyone can gift their family is informing them of their wishes or plans to assist their to care for you. Be informed about all aspects of life decisions, living arrangement options, finances and advanced directives. Of course, this isn't what you all want to do during the holiday time but it may be the only time you have together to begin that dialogue.
What else can you do to assist your loved one in managing their daily lives? If there is a caregiver or spouse involved, do consider their need for support. Allow them to attend support groups or explore what respite care is available locally, through county senior supportive services, other adult day care agencies, or in home care. Assist in paying for these services or providing support if you are able to.
Look at what gifts can provide safety such as personal alert systems or personal identification. Look at what can assist their daily lives such as homemaking or personal care. Even meals on wheels can help lessen the load of cooking and shopping for food. Medication set up can provide safety and lessen the strain in caregiver stress, too. Consider public transportation and shopping and errand options which can help reduce winter driving or winter outings in icy conditions.
Suzanne Holguin, RN, BSN, is assessment nurse and caregiver support group facilitator at the Friendship Centers of Emmet County. Send questions and comments to Caregiving Column, Attn. Suzanne Holguin RN, BSN, c/o Friendship Centers of Emmet County, 1322 Anderson Road, Petoskey, Mich. 49770; firstname.lastname@example.org; or 347-3211, ext. 15. The Caregiving column runs on the third Monday of every month.