Losing our independence is one of our biggest fears in life. Watching someone we love lose theirs is one of the saddest parts of life. But, it is a part of life. Although the age at which elders need help, and the amount of help they need varies, at some point aging makes everyone a bit less self-sufficient. The challenge for many friends and family members is determining when their loved one can no longer live alone safely, and what kind of care they need. Your Denver nursing home attorney offers some advice below on identifying the time to act to protect your loved one.
Diseases Can Make Assisted-Living a Necessity
Diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia leave their sufferers particularly vulnerable. Signs of Alzheimer's may start manifesting in a person's thirties and forties even though the disease does not usually fully present until a person's sixties or seventies. Difficulty processing information, remembering simple tasks, and having a hard time concentrating can all be early warning signs of Alzheimer's. Planning for assisted living and/or nursing home care should begin at this stage, because most people with Alzheimer's cannot live alone past the early stages.
Diseases such as Parkinson's and End Stage Renal Disease, or ESRD, are widespread in the older population. They require round-the-clock skilled care that friends and family cannot provide. Diseases like diabetes, that have been managed well at home by the patient for many years, can get out of control as the patient ages, either because the diabetes itself becomes advanced, or because the patient no longer manages food, sugar levels, and symptoms correctly. Depression, another condition common to the elderly, can lead to a loss of socialization, a decline in basic hygiene, and a fundamental loss of dignity. This in turn often leads to physical decline in the elderly. In these situations, moving to a more social environment such as assisted living where there are people around constantly, and where meals are provided and basic needs are met, is a good first step.
Potential Signs Your Loved One Needs Elder Care
Although the decision as to whether a loved one is no longer safe living alone must be made on a case-by-case basis, your Denver nursing home attorney suggests these examples as signs indicating that a loved one needs care: spoiled food that does not get thrown away; missing important appointments; unexplained bruising; trouble getting up from seated position; difficulty with walking, balance, and mobility; uncertainty and confusion when performing once familiar tasks; forgetfulness; decline in hygiene; stack of unopened mail; weight loss; loss of interest in hobbies or activities; mood swings; and forgetting to take medications and/or taking the wrong dose.
Making the determination that a loved one can no longer live alone is just the first step. As many people who have gone through this process know, seniors are often in denial about their inability to be self-sufficient. Getting the support of all family members, friends, and especially the physicians of the loved one is crucial to convincing the senior that he or she needs to make a change. The best approach is to have a plan in place before the time arrives when it is needed; discuss this stage of life with your loved one, outline trigger events (ill health, decline in finances, death of spouse), and formulate a specific plan and who will execute it when the time comes.
Denver nursing home attorney Jordan Levine at The Levine Law Firm knows how important it is that your loved ones are safe and taken care of. If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, call our offices to learn more about your legal options.