Just as we wondered if it was safe to leave our teenager home alone, we start wondering if it is safe for dad to stay home alone. When we had younger children, we had to think about prevention and safety. Even if our toddler did not open the front door and cross the street, did not mean we were not going to take precautions to prevent a mishap.

There are some issues that need to be solved before dad or mom begin to show some health changes brought on by frailty,  chronic ailments or age-related illnesses. Hopefully, our parents consulted with an elder law attorney who helped them take care of important legal documents, such as guardianships, and trusts.  Will we be able to make decisions about our father’s care? What if dad needs long term care, and wants to remain at home?

As time goes by, our loved one may not be able to care for himself like he did 30 or 40 years ago. Unfortunately, there may be a time when we start noticing dramatic cognitive changes, especially if one of our parents has been diagnosed with dementia. The warning signs will start tugging at us each time we visit.

Tell-Tale Signs - Time to Take Dad’s Safety Seriously

- When dad calls, he can’t even remember why he called and hangs up.

- When we visit during the week, we start finding more dings and scratches on his car. When we ask him, he can’t come up with an answer as to how it happened.

- When we get in the car with dad to go to a nearby store, the same store dad has gone to for 20 years, he suddenly can’t remember how to get there. It may be time to get someone else to do the driving.

- Dad has forgotten to turn the stove off. Who checks on the stove when we are not around?

- Neighbors start informing us about dad’s wandering, and that he no longer recognizes them.

- Dad hasn’t been paying his bills, and has received notices from the power company.

Do We Have a Plan if Dad’s Health Condition Worsens?

Does dad need to stay with us? Is it time to hire a licensed home care agency to stay with him while we are at work? Can we make decisions about his long-term care?  We, too, may have to consult with an elder law attorney.

Just as we find time to see an attorney, we should also find time to search for a qualified and accredited home health care agency to care for our loved one. Before searching, we need to make a list of our parent’s needs, and have it ready before speaking with a representative from an accredited agency about services .

Finding an accredited home health care agency should also be part of a plan to help dad stay safe and secure.  Feel free to call Senior Helpers of Orlando at 407-628-4357 to find out about our home health care services, and to schedule an assessment.

Ana P. De Lane

Senior Helpers of Orlando Team Member

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