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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Help! I’ve fallen and I...

Dec 05, 2016 09:54AM ● By Susan Williams

Have you seen this ad on television? An elderly person falls and can’t get up, and no one is around to hear his or her cries. We are reluctant to admit that it could happen to us, but if a crisis like this does occur, who’s there to help?

As an aging life care specialist, I am here to support you and your loved ones through the third trimester of life. Have you found yourself in any of the following scenarios, or wondered what you’d do if you had to face one in the future?

Beth’s mother, Gladys, 85, lives alone in Grand Junction. Beth had recently made a visit to see her mother and thought things were going well. Gladys was taking her medication and agreed not to drive. A friend agreed to take her to the store weekly. She walked to her mailbox daily and occasionally cooked. She was a little confused sometimes but seemed to be making fairly good decisions for herself.

But Gladys fell a few weeks later and couldn’t get up. She lay helpless for hours before being found by a neighbor who happened to stop by. Gladys was taken to the hospital and the ambulance crew called Beth, who was unable to return to Grand Junction at the time. Who could she talk to about what steps to take next?

In another scenario, Tim and Kathy were relocating outside the area and were worried about leaving Kathy’s parents, Robert and Edna, who were in their 80s and refused to move away from their home of 50 years. Though they were relatively healthy, Kathy was over at their home daily. Without her, who would watch out for them?

Paula lives in Denver and her father, Edward, lives in Grand Junction. Edward was independent until he caught the flu. Paula works long weeks, then drives to Grand Junction almost every weekend to check on her father. She is exhausted and needs some relief. Who can she call?

An aging life care specialist can help

When it comes to caring for our parents, we worry, overextend ourselves, deny the problem and never come up with a solution. This is when an aging life care specialist comes in. Aging life care is a holistic, client-centered approach for older adults facing ongoing challenges. As a guide and advocate, these specialists encourage independence while addressing safety and security concerns. Knowledge of cost, quality and availability of resources is paramount.

Aging life care specialists provide answers at times of uncertainty, guiding families to actions and decisions that ensure quality care and optimal life for those they love. This reduces worry, stress and time off from work for family caregivers. Specialists provide information on assessing home safety equipment, home care services and medical management; communicating with area professionals and family members who live out of town; assisting with social activities; and providing information and referrals to local, cost-effective resources.

Each circumstance is unique and each assessment is individualized. A neutral third party who can build trusting relationships prevents ineffective guesswork, services that may lead to a poor outcome and unnecessary expenses.

The Aging Life Care Association is a national organization of certified professionals, educated and credentialed in care for the aging population. Members must keep up with professional development and maintain the highest ethical standards. This specialization assists individuals, families and other professionals.

More adults in their retirement years are choosing to stay at home, which can provide unique challenges for each person and their families. Even if you’re not sure if you need an aging life care specialist, call me at 208-1345.

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