SOUTHERN PINES, NC--(Marketwired - Jan 2, 2014) - After millions of Americans gathered with their loved ones this holiday season and had an opportunity to interact with each other more than they normally do, elder care experts advise to reflect on the behavior of elderly friends or family members in order to identify potential signs of deteriorating health.
"We all want to feel like the time we spend with our elderly loved ones is of value and not a burden, but the truth is they tend to have set routines that help keep them stable day to day and it's natural for our presence over the holidays to cause some different behavior from them when we disrupt those routines," said Amy Natt, a certified geriatric care manager and owner of Aging Outreach Services in North Carolina. "However, if we observe a number of these behaviors over the holidays and their personal safety in the home becomes a concern, we may need to explore options for how we can obtain in-home assistance for them."
According to Natt, it would behoove family members who are concerned about behaviors they observed over the holidays to reflect on 10 prominent warning signs that their elderly loved one may need help:
1. Experiencing a change in memory
2. Bills not being paid on time or mail piling up
3. Missed doctor appointments
4. Personal hygiene (e.g., clothing, hair, etc.) becoming difficult to maintain
5. Kitchen problems, such as scorch marks on pots or other signs of fires from cooking
6. Grocery supply (e.g., limited food or lots of expired food)
7. Weight loss or gain
8. Home repairs and yard work not being maintained
9. Isolation or skipping activities formerly of interest
10. Driving issues, such as accidents, tickets or car repairs not being addressed
"If a family member reflects back on what they saw over the holidays and several of these warning signs jumps out at them, it's a good idea to have a conversation with the loved one, ask some open-ended questions and just listen," advises Natt. "If your gut tells you that it's time to get your loved one some dedicated help in the home, there are some wonderful resources available to help you do that without breaking the bank."
Natt advises that a good place for consumers to start their research for in-home care is to consult the Private Care Association (PCA), the national association for private duty home care registries and referral agencies since 1977.
PCA member registries conduct background checks, verify credentials and check the professional references of caregivers before they are referred to consumers on a private basis, for care needed anywhere from a few hours at a time up to 24 hours a day. This ensures that caregivers referred to consumers are pre-screened prior to entering the client's home and are only the very best, qualified caregivers suited for the consumer's needs. At the same time, since the caregivers are self-employed, a caregiver registry can save families anywhere from 10 to 30 percent on their in-home care expenses.
For more information about private duty home care registries and how to find in-home caregivers at an affordable price, please go to www.privatecare.org.
Since 1977, the Private Care Association (PCA) has been the voice of private duty home care. PCA's membership is made up of home care registries that refer self-employed caregivers to provide assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, lifting/transferring, continence care, feeding/meal preparation, companion care, homemaker services and nursing services in the client's home. The PCA has an involved government relations program that actively presents its position to public policymakers at the state and federal levels and, as the national voice for home care registries, the PCA promotes the interests of the private duty home care industry, advocating the consumer-directed model of care and consumer choice. For more information, please go to www.privatecare.org.