Protecting Our Aging Parents

PROTECTING OUR AGING PARENTS

One of the most common situations that we encounter at Middlebury Convalescent Home is the unexpected circumstances that family members face with an aging parent.  As with some seniors, it may be difficult to anticipate the future of their health compared to an elderly person who has had continuous medical issues.  Neither situation prepares adult children for the responsibility of caring for their parent.  A simple slip in the bathroom or a minor vehicle collision can quickly create a series of difficult decisions that one may not be prepared to manage.

Preparing and protecting your aging parent can begin with having that sometimes difficult conversation with your loved one.  Here are a few things to consider:

“Poor medication management is the number one reason for leaving an independent living situation and going into supervised care,” says Elinor Ginzler, coauthor of Caring for Your Parents: The Complete AARP Guide.  Chances are that your parent only uses one pharmacy to fill their prescriptions.  Seek out that pharmacist since he/she has eyes on all their medication.  Ask questions about side effects and if any of the meds interact with each other or over-the-counter drugs or supplements they may be taking.

When it comes to the subject of driving, the conversation can be a bit sticky.  Sometimes a senior is able to realistically drive safely for an extended period of time.  For others it can be a life or death situation to be behind a wheel.  For some elderly people, the idea of not being able to drive any longer can be devastating.  A form of independence is taken away. Something to consider if “hanging up the keys” is imminent is to recruit others like your loved one’s doctor or the DMV.  Failing a vision or driving test will prevent renewal of a license.

For all adults, particularly the elderly, it is always a good idea to set up important documents called “Advanced Directives”.  These documents will designate a healthcare representative to make healthcare decisions for you if you are not able.  Also, included can be a living will (not a “will” which designates your assets after one dies) which details your wishes in a situation where you would not want artificial means in order to keep you alive.  Another decision is whether or not you want a do-not-resuscitate order which instructs your family/healthcare provider in the event the heart or lungs stop functioning.  You can go to this link https://www.ct.gov/agingservices/lib/agingservices/pdf/advancedirectivesenglish.pdf to download a free copy of  “Your Rights To Make Health Care Decisions” provided by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Please feel free to contact Middlebury Convalescent Home with any questions at 203-758-2471.

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