While we might imagine a Norman Rockwell-worthy Thanksgiving gathering, with the entire family savoring high quality time with one another and Grandma’s customary feast, the reality for a number of families also includes something unplanned: a trip to the hospital. In fact, statistics show that emergency room visits for the elderly increase an astounding 10% – 20% throughout the holidays.
While identifying the actual reasoning behind this increase is hard, it isn’t surprising that one factor might be family members who haven’t spent time with an older relative in the months just before the holidays, recognize during their holiday visit that their loved one’s situation has deteriorated.
Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital explains, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in 6 months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”
There are several proactive steps that family members can take to avoid the ER this holiday season:
- Record key contact information for the senior’s doctor as well as other specialists. Include all prescribed medications by each physician and any drug allergies or other issues. Getting in touch with the correct physician for advice regarding your concerns is a good first step over an emergency room visit, except if your senior loved one is experiencing a real emergency.
- Speak to your loved one about assigning a medical care proxy, who’s able to serve as a voice for making health decisions in the event that your senior loved one is unable to do so. Ensure a living will is in place.
- Check in with the older adult regularly throughout the year. For families who live at a distance, it can be beneficial to enlist the assistance of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to visit the senior on a regular basis and to help keep you up to date with any irregularities they see.
An established home care agency, like Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, could be the ideal year-round approach to make sure your senior loved one remains healthy and well, and that any changes in circumstances are dealt with immediately – ensuring the holiday season remains as festive and pleasant as it ought to be. Just a few of the countless ways we are able to help avoid the ER include:
- Planning and creating healthy, appetizing meals, in compliance with any nutritional restrictions
- Providing accompanied transportation to medical appointments and procedures, fitness programs, and fun excursions
- Evaluating the home for fall hazards and recommending modifications to ensure safety
- Assisting with safe and secure ambulation and transfers
- Personal care such as bathing, showering, and using the restroom
- And so much more, in accordance with each person’s specific needs
Give us a call at 269-373-5444 or contact us online to request a complimentary in-home consultation or to learn more about our Kalamazoo home care and the other Michigan communities we serve. We help increase safety and overall well-being for your senior loved one. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.