You went home as the dutiful child to visit your parents over the summer season. You already knew there would be list of chores to do, pictures to hang up, furniture to be moved maybe even a leaky faucet. These things are normal to expect for those of us with aging parents. What you were not ready for was Mom or Dad being forgetful, repeating the same conversation over every 20 minutes or so…. Maybe they were putting their keys in the freezer, unsure of how to balance the checkbook, being unusually quiet during a normal group conversation, or wondering why the phone was ringing. Many of these can be the early signs of Alzheimer Disease or a related Dementia. Perhaps they find it difficult to dress themselves or to cook proper meals… If you have two parents living together, you may have wondered… ‘Why didn’t Mom tell me about Dad acting this way?’ You may even be feeling some guilt wondering why you didn’t pick up on this during your weekly phone calls… No you did not miss anything… Mom could be very adept in covering up for Dad, taking on more responsibility, because being forgetful is part of aging, or when you think about it, phone calls are about 15 – 20 minutes, not usually long enough to pick up that something is amiss. They could be suffering from a simple Urinary Tract Infection or have something more serious; getting the best available treatment is key.
This isn’t how you would like Mom and Dad’s retirement to be, but now you must find ways to assist. The first place to get help is with their Family Doctor. It is not out of line for you to insist on taking them and sitting in on the visit. If they decline or refuse, you are within your rights to contact the Doctor yourself and just inform him of your observations during your visit. Most Doctors will be happy to have this additional information.
The next step at least in Ontario is to contact the Community Care Access Centre. You will be assigned a Case Manager who will assist you in addressing your parents’ needs. Here is a list of services CCAC are able to provide in your home if deemed necessary.
- Personal support (help with bathing, dressing, etc.)
- Occupational therapy
- Speech-language therapy
- Social work
- Nutritional counseling
- Medical supplies and equipment
- Contact with Meals on Wheels
- House Cleaning Support
They can be found on the web at www.310CCAC.ca and have local offices that you can find by calling 310.CCAC.
Should your loved one require extra assistance, there are a couple of wonderful agencies that offer assistance within London that I would highly recommend.
Home Instead Senior Care: http://www.homeinstead.com/3028/Pages/HomeInsteadSeniorCare.aspx 591-913-1662 or
Senior Home Care by Angels: http://www.seniorhomecarebyangels.com/ 1- 800-747-9500
You are not alone. Stay tuned for next weeks article on finding the right Retirement/Nursing Home.