Even though we may well envision a Norman Rockwell-worthy Thanksgiving celebration, with the entire family savoring quality time together and Grandma’s traditional meal, the reality for some families involves something unexpected: trips to the ER. The fact is, studies indicate that emergency room visits for seniors jump an astounding 10% – 20% during the holidays.
Although identifying the precise reason regarding this increase is challenging, one factor may be loved ones who haven’t spent time with a senior relative in the months prior to the holidays, visit and only then determine that the relative’s condition 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 practical steps that families may take in order to prevent senior hospitalizations during the holiday season:
- Record crucial contact information for your loved one’s physician along with other specialists. Include all medications prescribed by each doctor and any drug allergies or other concerns. Getting in touch with the correct physician for assistance with concerns is a great first step over a hospital visit, except if the senior is having a true emergency.
- Speak to your loved one about assigning a medical care proxy, who will serve as a voice in making health decisions in the event that your senior loved one is unable to do so. Make sure a living will is set up.
- Check in with the senior routinely all year long. For families who live at a distance, it can be beneficial to engage the help of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to visit the senior on a regular basis and to help keep you updated with any changes they notice.
A reliable in-home care agency, like CareWorks Health Services, is the ideal year-round approach to make certain seniors stay healthy and well, and that any alterations in condition are resolved immediately – ensuring the holiday season stays as festive and enjoyable as it should be. Just a few of the various ways we are able to help are:
- Planning and cooking nutritious, delicious meals, in compliance with any nutritional limitations.
- Providing accompanied transportation to medical appointments and procedures, fitness programs, and enjoyable outings.
- Evaluating the house for fall hazards and suggesting modifications to ensure safety.
- Helping with safe and secure ambulation and transfers.
- Personal care including bathing, showering, and using the restroom.
- And much more, in accordance with each person’s specific needs.