3 Signs That a Senior Needs Home Care

In talking with various people who call in and inquire about our services, I can’t help but reminisce on my experience with my own dad’s health failing, and the beginning of a seven-year journey in terms of his care. I noticed three key areas that were clues to my dad’s health:

1. Diet. We lived in Ohio, and he lived in Louisiana. We started to notice that when we came to visit, he wouldn’t have a lot of groceries in the house. He’d have cans of beans and Beany Weenies, but not much else.

His eating habits seemed fine. He always had a great appetite. He just didn’t have a lot of food in the house. I also noticed that when he and I went out to lunch, he really enjoyed his meal. I could tell he really enjoyed good food when he got it, but he wasn’t going to the extent that he needed to prepare it for himself at home. I had a wonderful cousin who used to cook for him and bring him food periodically, but not all the time. That made me concerned about what he was eating when no one was around. His diet was likely suffering.

So when you’re talking to your mom or dad, or visiting with them, you might just want to be aware of the diet and nutrition things going on. Do they have a good appetite? How much food is actually in the house?

2. Doctor visits. Another thing I think we did a fairly good job on was checking in on him about his doctor visits. Did he have scheduled visits? What physician was he seeing? What for? What was going on? We checked in to make sure he had appointments, because someone who is elderly and not having regular appointments may be disregarding their health.

My dad was going to his doctor appointments. And he usually gave us positive reports from the doctor. As we look back, we know that that was not always actually the case. He always wanted to present the best-case scenario that everything was just fine.

The way that you can reassure yourself about whether their reports about doctor visits are true or not, is to plan a visit and go to a doctor’s appointment with them. Take that opportunity to talk to the doctor, and find out the doctor’s perspective. Go in the exam room. Watch the exam. Ask questions. Ask why certain medications are being prescribed. Talk about prognosis in terms of your loved one, because our loved ones have a very neat way of going and seeing the doctor, and coming out as if everything’s fine, and yet they have what my dad would call “a boatload” of pills to take. And you don’t want to have a boatload of pills to take unless something’s really going on!

3. Perspective of local family and friends. One thing that we didn’t do as good a job with was to check in with family and friends nearby. It’s important to check in with family and friends that live around your loved one, to get their perspective of how your loved one is doing. Chances are, your loved one will put on a face when they’re not doing so well. They’ll cover up the things that are not going so well, because their generation—especially the Greatest Generation that my dad was a part of—was all about being strong. He never wanted to show any weaknesses. So check in with family and friends to see their perspective, because they probably won’t hide as much from them as they will from you, and you can get a clearer picture of what’s actually going on.

Diet, doctor visits, and checking in with family are the key things to be keeping an eye on, to make sure your loved ones are doing well, or to see when they might start needing some help.

Dr. Steve L. & Leslie B. Whatley,

Owners, HomeWell Senior Care of Collin County

Office: 469-519-1014

Email: hwcc@homewellseniorcare.com

Website: www.homewellseniorcare.com/collin-county

Facebook: HomeWell Senior Care of Collin County

Twitter: @HomeWell_CC