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- Posted on Oct. 27th, 2014
Two years. That’s the amount of time I waited for the ball to drop. Two years observing my Aunt from the sidelines as she slowly but surely did herself in. Two years anticipating that at any time she was an accident waiting to happen. Two years of being ready to take action. And sadly, two years waiting for the phone to ring that today was the day she was ready to move. That phone call never came.
Last week when all of my waiting came to an end Moving a Reluctant Parent – Part 16 and I got the call from my cousin that my Aunt had finally agreed to sell the house and actually signed the listing agreement, my emotions went numb. I could not speak. I could not feel happy. I simply went to bed and put my head under the covers and wept. I was mentally and physically more exhausted than I realized. All I needed in the moment was peace and quiet and time to adjust to the new plan; then a miracle of miracles took place.
My Aunt’s niece (who lives on the west coast) decided to come to Chicago to stay with her Aunt for three weeks. There were numerous reasons for this visit – one of which was to prove me and my cousins wrong for “forcing” Auntie out of her house. This niece was coming to Chicago because she is angry and thinks what is being done is cruel and unjust because “there is nothing wrong with Auntie and she does not have to move if she doesn’t want to.”
The phone rang several hours after the niece unpacked her bags at my Aunt’s house. I took a deep breath as I answered the phone. This is not going to be pretty I thought to myself. To my surprise the niece was pleasant and chatty, and never once verbally attacked me the way she did my cousins. Hmmmm. She has no clue how much of a role I played in this relocation situation and I don’t intend to let her know.
A few days went by. The niece and my Aunt are running errands, shopping for groceries, preparing meals and cooking together, watching TV and just hanging out. And every moment they are together the niece begins to see and experience what I have known all along – that Auntie is no longer safe to live alone. Plus, she is not eating, is extremely forgetful and quite unsteady on her feet.
Listen up long-distance family members…
The niece who is visiting has a lifetime relationship with her Aunt (as I do). The difference is they literally talk EVERY SINGLE DAY on the telephone. My Aunt has been physically and mentally declining for years and none of the clues were detected by the niece over the telephone. She was unaware of any of the real dangers in my Aunt’s life.
If you are a long-distance family member and you think everything is AOK in your elder’s life because they sound peachy over the phone, you can be sadly mistaken. The telephone is a sorry excuse for in-person meetings. If you do not visit your elders on a regular basis and see and experience for yourself how they are managing on a daily basis; then get ready for an emergency telephone call that something bad has or is about to happen.
More to come.
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- Posted on Oct. 17th, 2014
Nursing home falls are actually more commonplace than a lot of people realise and as seniors are more vulnerable by nature anyway, a fracture or bad fall can have damaging circumstances.
Tragic injuries can occur to loved ones when they have a fall at their nursing home. They can cause many different types of injuries, some of which have long-term or even fatal consequences. Compensation can sometimes be available if there is a case of neglect leading up to the fall or how they were treated immediately afterwards.
Read more here about some common scenarios and likely outcomes relating to making a claim where the nursing homes are at fault. This article outlines some of the common causes of nursing home falls and what to do when an accident happens or an injury occurs.
One of the most common causes for a fall is when the nursing home fails to provide a safe environment that takes into account the raised level of vulnerability of the elderly residents to suffer a fall-related injury.
Nursing homes are required to complete a fall-risk assessment process but more often than is acceptable, it transpires that these assessments have either gone missing or have simply not been completed with the right level of care.
A number of residents in nursing homes will require access to special medical equipment or specially adapted beds in order to reduce the risk of a fall, but this is not always made available to them. Any resident who has a mental or physical disability will also be more susceptible to a fall and this is not always taken into account.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that around 1,800 nursing home residents die each year as a result from injuries sustained from a fall.
These injuries can be broken bones or a traumatic brain injury. Even those that survive a bad fall can sometimes be left with some permanent disabilities, which unfortunately have an impact on their ongoing quality of life.
It is understood that there are almost double the amount of falls in nursing homes than there are for seniors living in their community. A typical nursing home with about 100 beds, will report somewhere between 100 and 200 falls a year, which is worryingly high ratio of accidents to residents.
These figures could be reduced if there was adequate supervision of residents, especially those that have been identified as being more vulnerable and susceptible to a fall.
Staff working in nursing homes can often work long shifts and this can possibly leave gaps in the level of care and supervision required to maintain safety levels, due to the fact that these workers are fatigued.
If an elderly resident has taken a fall, they require close observation for a period afterwards to ensure that those involved, are not suffering from any internal wounds or bleeding. The worst case scenario happens when the nursing home fails to monitor the resident after a fall and this lack of close observation leads to an intracranial haemorrhage, with fatal consequences.
If you find out that your loved one has suffered a fall at their nursing home, make sure that you ask about the care and attention they have received immediately afterwards and check to ensure that they are monitoring for any signs of health issues as a result of the incident.
Len Haberman, Esq., works as a nursing home attorney in both Philadelphia and New Jersey. When he has the time, he enjoys sharing his experiences with others. You can find his enlightening articles on many legal and senior living websites today.
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- Posted on Oct. 9th, 2014
By Kaye Swain
Are you caring for an elderly parent at home and toying with the idea of remodeling your home for any one of a variety of reasons, including adding aging in place options? Is the whole thought of dealing with a remodel scaring you? Especially when you are juggling that with caregiving responsibilities?
I know just how you feel! We added a bedroom and bathroom to our vintage 1940s home years ago to make room for our growing family. I stressed over the thought of all the dust getting everywhere, having strangers in my home all through the day, and if there would be times when the remodel could lead to areas that could not be locked at night.
We ended up working with contractors who were friends from church and over all, it went well. Even though there were some difficulties that arose while working with our friends, the high comfort level it gave me to know them made it all worthwhile.
I was reading an article about remodeling this week, which reminded me of that situation AND made me think through if it would be better or worse doing it now with aged parents.
Personally, I think I’d have a lot of the same concerns with my elderly parents. For example:
- Nails, dust, and messes! Elderly seniors probably won’t put things in their mouth like a toddler or go play hide and seek in the workman’s area like older kids but they can definitely be a bit on the wobbly side so it would be vital for the contractor to be aware of that issue and work carefully to avoid hazards for our beloved seniors.
- A door that can be locked is vital for all ages and particularly so for aging parents who may be in the stages of dementia that includes wandering, like my great aunt once upon a time. Communicating this issue with your contractor is definitely vital. Our guys knew our concerns about our young children and never left for the day without making sure our home was secure.
- Construction workers who are safe around the family. I wanted people I knew and trusted around my family and I would want the same for the family living with me in this season of life. I discussed this carefully with my friends and they assured me they were cautious about who they hired. And thankfully, we never had any issues. Whether you hire someone you know or a stranger, be sure to thoroughly check out who you do hire – including at the governmental licensing agency they are under and the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org) and make sure to hire someone who is licensed and bonded. And again, communication with the person in charge is key.
Remodeling, whether to add a room for a growing family or to add aging in place options for elderly parents, is never an easy process. Careful research and good communication are important components to making it go smoothly and safely.
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