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What to consider when mom and dad need help Jenny Wallis | Sat, Jan 08 2011 12:00 PM

Dear Jenny,

I was just home for the holidays and saw some surprising things. I think it may be time for me to start looking at assisted living places for my mother and father. I talk with them all the time, but it seems that with this trip I saw something in them that I don't normally see. Is it just because of the holidays that I noticed this and is this something that other people feel too?

The holidays are often filled with good food, friends and family. It's during these gatherings when adult children come face to face with the increasing and changing needs of aging parents and family members. Each January following the holiday season, senior living communities see an increase in inquiries from concerned family members looking for help and answers.

The reality of where mom or dad are health wise really hits home for many when they come home for the holidays or simply spend more time with their parents in December. If you are starting to ask the question 'does mom or dad need help?' then you know it's time to at least start inquiring into options.

When a visit home leaves a loved one concerned about the health and quality of life for their aging parent or family member, it is important and alright to follow through, to evaluate the situation thoroughly and determine what accommodations or care are necessary at this time in their lives.

When deciding whether to seek the care of a senior living community, consider these questions and tips regarding the senior in your life:


How are they emotionally? Are there changes in their activity level and mood? Are they seeing friends and partaking in activities they have loved for years?


Are they taking their medications correctly? Has there been significant weight loss? Unexplained weight loss could indicate a major health problem.


If you see mold or mildew growing, or insects, take notice. This can become a health concern What shape is the home in? If the home is in need of repair and un-kept, these can be signs that more help is needed.


Neglecting personal hygiene and cleanliness can be a sign that help is needed. Are they taking care of themselves physically? Look to see if they are keeping up with basic daily routines such as bathing, brushing teeth and wearing clean clothes.


Are they having difficulty moving around their home? Having trouble walking or being unsteady on their feet puts them at risk for falling and injuring themselves.


Are you noticing changes in their personality? Memory loss, difficulty in performing familiar tasks, poor judgment, misplacing items, disorientation, rapid mood swings, increased apathy or passiveness are all early warning signs of Alzheimer's. A doctor's evaluation can help determine the cause and treatment of these symptoms.


How are the finances? Any mishandled finances to cause concern?


Do you see any dents in a car? This may indicate erratic or unsafe driving

If you have questions about senior care or helping an elderly loved one, contact Jenny Wallis at Villa Bonita Senior Living at (619) 739-4400 or by e-mail at villabonitamkg2@islllc.com.

Villa Bonita Senior Living is an assisted living community located at 3434 Bonita Road, Chula Vista. You can also visit Villa Bonita online at www.villabonitaseniorliving.com.


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