As our parents get older, or if you are in your 70’s or better, have you though about “the next step?” It just happeed to me. My mother has now fallen several times in just two days! Being about 4 hours drive time away, what can we do for our parents? If you are elderly, what will you do if you fall? Here are some thoughts and some ideas that need to be put into place.
If you fall (or a parent falls), do you have a way to contact someone for help if you are alone? Having an alert on your wrist or around your neck to call 911 is very important. So many times a patient will tell me that when they fell they were not near a phone. We never want to hear someone say they were on the floor for 4 hours. My mother has a lock box with a key in it for the emergency squad. We really do not want the police or fire to break windows or doors to get in. Have this in place, or make sure a neighbor has a key to your house.
The next step could be a trip to the hospital. You need to have your ID, insurance cards, and cell phone ready to go. Depending on what happens in the hospital, “the next step” might be a skilled nursing facility or rehab. I will be going through this myself with my mother. We now have a difficult decision. After rehab, can you or our parent go back home, or must we consider independent or assisted living? I tell my parents that they should always visit several places while they are well and in good mind to make good decisions should they have to move into a facility. Nobody wants to enter a place after rehab and say to themselves, “I never would have picked this place if I had a choice.”
These are difficult decisions to make by a person, their spouse, or their children. Please think of some of these scenarios you could be faced with. Have discussions and formulate a plan for “the next step.”
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please don’t hesitate to contact us!