When Living Alone is No Longer an Option

alzheimers-s12-light-switchMany of us live in Never Never Land: We’re never going to get old and we’re never going to need help. Of course, just the opposite is true. According to clinical bioethicist Viki Kind, author of the book “The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can’t,” “Only 10 percent of us get to die fast; the other 90 percent will endure long-term health issues.” So what do you do if your loved one can no longer live alone? That problem is all too real for Cathy. Her 83-year-old father lives alone in New York City. He’s been having difficulty remembering things, and a day before his planned trip to California for the holidays, he experienced a fall. He’s now in the hospital, and Cathy must help her father make decisions about his living arrangements. “I’m not even sure where to start,” Cathy said. “Should I move my dad near me or help him find a place in New York? What happens if he doesn’t want to move or have someone come to his home to help...

Be observant when visiting the elderly this holiday

friendsThe holidays are a wonderful time to visit family and friends— bringing the kids to see Grandma, visiting Aunt Betty or taking some homemade cookies to an elderly neighbor. If we just keep our eyes open during those visits, seniors can tell us a lot about their needs. Seventy-five-year-old Aunty Honey lived alone after her husband passed away. Amy visited her Aunty Honey each year while in Massachusetts to see her sister. But Amy’s visit last year was something altogether different. “At first glance I didn’t notice a thing” Amy said. “Aunty Honey was happy to see me; she was enthusiastic and shared stories of her childhood. Then I noticed Aunty Honey had a few stains on her dress. During our visit she offered me tea in a dirty cup, and the milk was out of date. “That was like a red flag to me,” Amy continued. “I began to look more closely and noticed she had some large bruises on her shins. I also noticed that she didn’t have her glasses on. I inquired about them, and Aunty...

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