What to know if your aging parent shows warning signs when you're home for the holidays
It happens every year: An adult child goes home for the holidays to visit an aging parent for the first time in awhile. And while there, the child sees some troubling behavior – signs of an unreported injury or fall, personal-care issues, or early indicators of dementia.
Too often, the conversation turns too quickly to whether that aging parent should move into a long-term care facility, said Susan Real, executive director of the Bloomington-based East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging.
“That’s a very common scenario. People don’t know about all the options that are out there for an older adult to remain at home,” Real said.
In reality, there are a lot of options for older adults to age in place, Real said. That includes home-delivered meals; ways to reduce social isolation, like congregate nutrition programs; home care; transportation; and home modification.
“Our goal always has been to support an older adult at home for as long as possible, with quality services to secure their quality of life, to maintain their dignity,” Real said.
CCSI – Case Coordination is a good starting point, and it’s the point of contact for options counseling. You can reach CCSI at (309) 661-6400 or BloomingtonCCU@ccsicares.com.
That also includes help for the caregivers themselves, who may be new to what can be a very difficult role. CCSI can connect people to caregiver training, support groups, and consultation, Real said.
“There’s a fun time in coming home for the holidays. But there may be times when adult children are faced with challenges in seeing their aging parents decline in health or start to experience dementia,” Real said. “But know there is help out there – and you don’t always need to think of long-term care and nursing homes as the only option you have.”