Ask the Nurse: Christine Hammerlund, President of Assured Healthcare Staffing and Nurse
As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, it is smart to be aware of changing roles with aging parents.
You have the full turkey dinner at your mom and dad's house. You do the cooking as you have for the last few years because mom is not quite up to pulling off such an event by herself as she did when she was your age.
So you get to do the honors. It it exhausting but satisfying. All your kids will be there. Aunts, uncles and cousins, too.
Mom and dad are getting older now, and you're always concerned about them because they are living on their own. In recent days, you have become very sensitive to the changes that age can impose. It's the price of being a caring adult child. But this was the first year you started to pay special attention to them this way.
These had been those years when your roles had shifted subtly, and you took pride by helping them in ways they used to help you.
One of these days you'll be the one who makes “the decision”. When will it be time for residential assisted living or in-home help to keep them safe? Or perhaps it's a more systematic method to organize their outings or regularly monitor their domestic needs.
You know it's no longer merely a question of chronological age to think of these issues. But life conditions change. Health changes. Fitness changes.
But how do you know when to pay special attention and what you should be looking for?
As it turns out, there are good tools to help you. Those of us who train in-home nurses use a checklist of symptoms and clues. Over the next few weeks as you ratchet up to the whirlwind of Christmas or Hanukah, I'll offer the “holiday reality check.”
If you are worrying about missing some basic signs, here are five categories from the “reality check.”