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When to Choose Elder Care Options

Ask The Experts by Kris Scarfone and Kristin Whitney

Q: My elderly mother is forgetful at times. Recently I visited and noticed mail piling up on her table. I’m concerned about other things as well. When/how will I know it is time to get help for her – either in her home or consider a move to an assisted living facility?

A: The decision to help an aging parent get in-home care or move to an assisted living facility is a difficult one, both practically and emotionally. There are some common indicators to look for to help make this decision. Following are red flags that it may be time for alternative living arrangements:

  • Increased difficulty managing activities of daily living (ADLs) – dressing, managing medications, shopping, cooking and cleaning, etc.
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Seemingly more frail
  • Changes in appearance – unshaven or wearing unkempt clothes
  • Withdrawal from usual social activities
  • Days spent without leaving home
  • Unexplained dents or scratches on car
  • A freezer full of tv dinners
  • Stale or expired food in kitchen
  • Unclean home and clutter – including mail piling up in various places

If safety, health or happiness are compromised, it is time to have a conversation with your loved one and address your concerns.

This can be a difficult conversation for both parties. It may be helpful to speak with your loved one’s primary care doctor or a professional geriatric care manager.

Kris Scarfone and Kristin Whitney own K&K Eldercare Concierge in Grosse Pointe. As Professional Geriatric Care Managers, Aging Life Care Association, they offer expertise and support in navigating health care choices and other needs for older adults. They can be reached at K&K Eldercare is a member of The Family Center’s Association of Professionals.


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