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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Sacramento Elder Lawyer Discusses Spotting Changes in Elderly Relatives Over The Holidays

December 1, 2010

One of the greatest blessings of the holiday season is visiting with friends and loved ones that we don’t normally get to see throughout the year. For some that means visiting with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends over a lively family dinner. For others, the holidays are the only opportunity to share intimate time with parents or siblings who live out of state.

Regardless of who you fellowship with this time of year, the holidays are an excellent time to pay close attention to aging relatives and note any changes that may indicate the need for increased care. This is especially important for people who have aging relatives that live alone or do not have a solid family support system at their disposal.

What exactly should you be paying attention to as you visit with elderly family and friends? Here’s a brief list of warning signs that may indicate your loved one needs additional help around the house or increased medical care:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Neglect of physical appearance or basic hygiene
  • Neglect of medical needs
  • Trouble performing routine tasks or chores
  • Personality changes
  • Sudden money trouble due to inability to handle affairs
  • Unsteadiness, clumsiness or recent history of falling
  • No longer responds to sounds or sudden loud noises
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing based on the weather
  • Repeats the same information or asks the same questions during short conversations

If your loved one displays any of the signs above, it’s important to address the situation immediately following your holiday festivities. If you don’t feel comfortable going directly to your aging loved one, talk with other family members and see if they too noticed the same unusual behaviors or warning signs. From there you can approach your loved one together and determine how you can best be of assistance in getting them the level of care (i.e. family oversight, home health care, nursing home care) that they now require.

Iif your loved one is showing signs that he or she may require assisted living or nursing home care in the future, it’s equally important to meet with a Sacramento elder attorney to ensure they have the proper documentation in place (i.e. power of attorney, healthcare directive and HIPAA Authorization) should someone ever need to make financial or medical decisions on their behalf.

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