The Gift of Love
This time of year brings with it visits to family near and far. The holidays offer us the opportunity to connect with people we haven’t seen in awhile and also check in on how loved ones are doing. As family members age, we often see distinct changes in health and living patterns from visit to visit, and we may become concerned with their level of independence. What indicators might suggest that loved ones need assistance or technology for aging in place?
- Change in physical appearance—Have they lost or gained a noticeable amount of weight? Are they taking care of their general appearance such as being dressed neatly or brushing their hair?
- Changes in routine—Are they engaging in their regular eating, toileting, and bathing activities? Have they become more sedentary? Do they avoid certain activities due to pain or disinterest?
- Changes in social status—Have they become more isolated? Do they find excuses for avoiding activities outside of the home that used to be meaningful to them?
- Changes in mood—Do they seem more irritable, withdrawn, sad, or quiet? Are conversations reduced to simple yes/no responses? Do they refute everything you say, OR do they agree to everything because it’s easier?
- Changes in health—Do they have any noticeable memory, ambulation, or speech issues? Are they refusing medical care, OR are they accessing more medical care than before? Are they taking too much or too little medication?
Granted, not all of these issues indicate that individuals need to move to assisted living With the number of wellness products and sensor systems in the market today, technology can provide dignified and affordable solutions for aging in place.
- Medication dispensers can remind individuals when it is time to take medication as well as be linked to a care center that can notify family, if needed
- Wellness monitoring tools such as blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, and pulse oximeters collect health data in confidential online health files and send notifications should an individual’s status exceed the predetermined thresholds
- Wireless sensor systems utilize door/window contacts, bed pressure pads, and even stove sensors to promote independence with activities of daily living
While conversations around these concerns can be difficult, I often encourage families to have them sooner rather than later. Being proactive offers individuals the opportunity to have a plan in place without having to make impulsive decisions if a crisis occurs.
Cameron Kempson, M.Ed.
Cameron is the Client Care and Education Specialist with SimplyHome. She has worked with families in the fields of aging and disabilities for more than 20 years.