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Knowing When Your Parents Need Help
By Christine Pringle

Especially for those who have just spent time with Mom or Dad around the holidays, some unanswered concerns of whether mom or dad is in need of help may have surfaced. Determining that help is necessary is the first step.

Are there tell-tale signs that may hint that he or she may need assistance?

Check medications to determine if they are being taken properly. Check refill dates, quantities, witness the medications being organized or taken and compare to the labeled instructions.

Has Mom or Dad had trouble keeping up their appearance? Have clothes been laundered? Are hair and nails well kept? Are shoes able to be put on independently? Has there been a significant weight loss? Bruising, possibly from falls? Does the bathroom or bedroom that they use have indications that they might be having trouble getting in and out of bed, having incontinence, or difficulty bathing or showering alone?

Is the house in poor condition? Are dishes piling up? Is the trash being taken out? Are there groceries in the cabinets/refrigerator? Is the house properly heated, can the fuel supply be checked?

Are appointments being kept and bills being paid? Call the doctor to determine if appointments have been made and kept? Are bills piling up? Is there unopened mail? Is the checking account balanced?

The most appropriate, but often most challenging, thing to do is to discuss what you observe, and do so with an open mind, but not a bleeding heart.

Assistive programs and services are available for seniors in most any situation. Gather information, but don't stop until you find the right fit. You may need to put in hours of diligent fact-finding, but the peace of mind you attain when Mom or Dad is better cared for is well worth the effort.

We want the best for our parents, but we need to keep in mind that they need to have a voice in determining what that "best" is. The goal should be a compromise to provide necessary care.

To learn more about SeniorLIFE, its services and qualifications, contact SeniorLIFE Uniontown at (724) 434-LIFE or 1-877-998-LIFE(5433) or visit www.seniorlifeuniontown.com or SeniorLIFE Washington at (724) 222-LIFE or 1-877-998-LIFE (5433) or visit www.seniorlifewashington.com.

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