Although of course we’d love to visualize enjoying a Norman Rockwell-worthy holiday gathering, with all of our family members spending quality time together and Mom’s traditional holiday feast, the reality for numerous family gatherings instead can consist of something unanticipated: an E/R visit. In fact, research shows that E/R visits for seniors rise about 10 – 20% over the holiday season. That’s why it’s so important to take holiday safety for seniors into consideration.
Though determining the exact reason behind this increase is tricky, one aspect could be family members who haven’t been spending as much time with an elderly relative in the timeframe leading up to the holiday season, only to find during holiday visiting that his/her health condition has deteriorated.
Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital shares, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in six months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”
Additionally, there are some prevalent changes related to growing older that could possibly be misconstrued, leading family members to think that an E/R visit is necessary.
There are, however, several tips for holiday safety for seniors that can be used to protect against a holiday emergency:
- Make sure you have a listing of contact information for the senior’s primary care physician and other medical specialists. Make sure the list includes all medications prescribed by each doctor and any medication allergies or other issues. Contacting the appropriate doctor for his or her suggestions about your concerns is a smart first step prior to an E/R visit, unless the older adult is going through a true emergency.
- Have a discussion with the older adult about designating a health care proxy, who will serve as a voice in making health decisions if your loved one is not able to do so. Make sure a living will is in place as well.
- Check in with the older adult routinely throughout the course of the year. For family members who live far away, it’s beneficial to solicit the aid of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to visit the senior frequently and to keep you updated with any changes they notice.
Of course, if it is an actual emergency, never hesitate to call 911 and seek the emergency medical care required immediately.
A professional home care agency, like Advanced Home Health Care, is the perfect solution to make certain your loved ones stay healthy and well, and that any changes in condition are dealt with immediately – so the holidays will be as festive and enjoyable as they should be. Just some of the many ways we can help include:
- Medication reminders
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housework and laundry
- And many others
Contact our experts in home care and respite care in Iowa at 800.791.7785 to schedule a free in-home evaluation to learn more about our customized home care services and to find out if our services are available in your area. View our full service area here.