When An Elder Person Needs Care
This article should help you determine whether an elder person
is safe on their own or needs assistance with daily living.
Chances are, if you have reached this article doing research about elder
care, you are feeling concern right now about an important person in your
life. Our hope is to assist you at this stressful time, by providing you
with the type of information about elder care options which will enable you
to make the best possible choices for your loved one. At our Sonoma County
residential care home, our lives revolve around caring for elder people, and
we know first-hand the variety of emotions a family can go through at this
difficult time, trying to decide what will be best for everyone involved.
Please use these articles we've written as steps, to guide you along this
path of discernment.
What needs to be determined first is whether the elder person in your life
is safe or unsafe on their own. Signs of different or unusual behavior may
accumulate gradually over time, or the onset of a change may be sudden, as
in the case of a stroke. Whatever the case may be, an elder person who
exhibits the following behaviors and symptoms, or who suffers
from the following disabilities may need assistance:
Based on the type of difficulty the elder person is experiencing, the family will
need to determine what kind of assistance is appropriate. It may be that the elder
person's needs are few and can be met by family members, such as running errands,
providing transportation, cooking meals. It may be that the elder person
will need to move in with other family members in order to receive consistent
assistance and attention. If the elder person moves in with the family, the family
may need to hire hospice workers, housekeepers or health aides to assist in the
care. Or, if the family is not able to care for the elder person at home,
a residential care facility or nursing home will need to be found.
- They cannot accomplish tasks such as shopping or going to appointments
due to a chronic illness or physical impairment.
- They cannot manage tasks of daily living such as preparing meals, bathing,
grooming, dressing, housekeeping, or yard work due to physical or mental ailments.
- They require medical care which they cannot administer themselves, such
as dialysis, or they have become forgetful of daily medicines which need to
be taken to protect their health.
- They have moderate memory or cognitive impairments which make them confused
about where things in the house are located, whether they shut off the stove,
or whether they remembered to take medicines.
- They have severe memory or cognitive impairments which lead them into unsafe
situations, such as walking out into traffic, wandering into other people's homes,
getting lost. They exhibit paranoia, disorientation and confusion.
At the onset of any of the above special needs or unusual behaviors, it is very important
that the elder person's health be fully assessed by a physician. If cognitive difficulties
are present, diagnosis by a neuropsychologist will be essential so that everyone
involved can understand the cause of the elder person's ailments, and what to expect
in the future. Medical understanding of the health problems faced by the elderly
grows better every year. Take full advantage of this, and be sure that your loved
one's physician has explained everything to you in a way which you fully understand.
Don't be afraid to ask all the questions you need to, and feel entitled to seek
second and third opinions.
In order for you determine what will be best for the elder person in your life,
you need to have all of the facts at your disposal. In addition to medical tests
and assistance, your loved one may need counseling to help them cope with the
distress, confusion or depression they may be feeling at this time. If you
are also feeling overwhelmed by the very real changes this new situation is creating
in your life, counseling may be of tremendous value to you or other members of your
If this is your first experience with the challenges of caring for elderly people,
no doubt you may be a little confused as to what the options are for getting help
for your loved one. Here in Sonoma County, we are fortunate enough to have all
types of assistance available to us, from in-home care to long term continuum
elder care. Please read on for complete information about the
Types of Elder Care available in Sonoma County, California.
If you are concerned that a loved one may be beginning to suffer from dementia or
Alzheimer's, it is important to seek professional medical consultation as promptly as
possible. In the meantime, a visit to Dementia.com
may prove helpful to you as you begin to learn about this dysfunction of the brain. Dementia.com
is currently the Internet's top resource for dementia information, news, and community
Another Internet resource of considerable value and interest is the American Geriatrics Society.
This well-known organization is dedicated to the health of elder persons, advocacy, and
public education about geriatrics.