by guest author Kathy Johnson, Ph.D.
Many of you may be unaware, but this Sunday, September 12, is National Grandparents Day - a day to honor all grandparents and to strengthen the bond between grandparents and grandchildren as well as draw compassionate attention to the eldest of society's elderly - those in nursing homes.
To all you Baby Boomers out there, I know how easy it is to get caught up in busy schedules - meetings, charity events, after school activities, preparing meals - the time gets away from you. Grandparents Day is a wonderful day to designate as a check-in day with your parents, your children's grandparents, to see how they are doing and how they are feeling. Some of us may live a significant distance from our parents, so if stopping by in person isn’t feasible, pick up the phone and give them a call. If anything seems suspicious - for instance, if they seem confused as to who you are, or if they don’t pick up the phone (and they normally do), call a neighbor or nearby friend who can swing by the house and quickly check in to make sure that everything is okay. Trust me, you will sleep a lot better.
Think about this: Most of us aspire to send our child to the best educational institutions possible, cost aside, yet when it comes to finding care for your parents, many times this is not the case, as least from what I have observed.
Below are a few tell-tale signs that your mom or dad may be in need of care:
2) Your father fell down the last three steps of his home injuring his hip.
1) Your mom sometimes forgets to check the gas on the stove. A small fire already occurred, but it was put out and no one was hurt.
3) You start to notice a lapse in memory. It may seem insignificant at first, but it starts to evolve into more serious lapses which can be dangerous in certain situations.
These are just several (of many) indicators that your parents may need additional help, especially if you live far away and are unable to check in on them regularly. So take this Sunday, National Grandparents Day, to visit your parents and assess their mental and physical well-being. If they show signs of any of the previously mentioned “indicators,” it may be a smart idea to start researching different in-home care and other care options in the area. The reason that in-home care is so appealing to many individuals over other alternatives is that it allows the parents to stay in their own home where they can age happily and comfortably. It is important you do your research so that you select a reputable agency with trained caregivers because like any other industry, the service quality can vary.
Kathy Johnson, Ph.D, is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager and Founder and CEO of Home Care Assistance ( www.homecareassistance.com ), a leading, international provider of in-home care for seniors. She holds a doctorate in psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Kathy also co-authored the book, Happy to 102: The Best Kept Secrets to a Long and Happy Life, based on the ground breaking Okinawa Centenarian Study, which spells out precisely what it takes to delay or escape Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases, as well as how to slow the aging process.