During the holidays do you have plans to visit your aging relatives?  Are you concerned about their well-being, safety and ability to age in place? Are you wondering whether there are any signs that you should be particularly looking for that will show that your aging relatives may be having some difficulties? 

Let us share with you our thoughts on what you should look for as you visit with your aging relatives. We recommend that you look for whether:

  • The inside of the house is messy, unsanitary and/or dirty.
  • The outside of the house is not maintained. 
  • There is very little food in the kitchen cabinets or refrigerator. Food preparation is minimal.
  • Medicine cabinets have not been maintained, some medicines are outdated and some prescriptions need to be filled. 
  • Clothes need to be washed.
  • The appearance of your aging relatives is slightly unkempt.
  • Your aging relatives are driving, but they are feeling anxious about it.
  • No one is checking in on them.

If you are observing any of the above signs, seriously discuss with your aging relatives what steps need to be taken for their care and safety. You need to approach your aging relatives with sensitivity and ask whether they want to stay in their home at all costs or do they want to live in assisted living. Assisted living can offer a wide range of amenities that may make it an attractive option for your aging relatives. On the other hand, your aging relatives may want to stay in their own home at all costs. 

If your aging relatives want to age-in-place, what needs to be done to help them remain in their home as long as possible and remain safe? You may need to discuss modifications to the home to make it safer and easier to move around. There may also need to be part-time in-home care help or possibly even a family caregiver move in with them or make daily visits.

Be sure to find out if your aging relatives have any plans in place for their long-term care?  Do you or your aging relatives know exactly what long-term care planning is?  The National Institute on Aging defines long-term care planning as steps to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a long or short period of time. Often, with the help of these services, aging relatives may be able to live as independently and safely as possible even though they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.

Once you have had the conversation with your aging relatives about long-term care planning, together you should locate a qualified Wisconsin elder law attorney to help with long-term care planning. In addition to long-term care planning, your Wisconsin elder law attorney can help your aging relatives with their estate planning. They will need someone they trust to handle their financial matters and healthcare decisions in the event they become incapacitated. 

During this holiday season, as you visit your aging relatives, know that this is a great time to be sure your loved ones are safe, cared for and happy.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you protect your aging relatives. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.