Dumbfounded by his fierce independence… His story includes the social isolation is not uncommon in today’s families who are geographically separated. His adult children lived out of town. ‘Arnie’ was 83 years old and lived in an apartment adjacent to a major divided highway. I climbed six cement stairs and then another step to get to the doorway of his apartment. This was not easily accessible for an 83 year old senior person with impaired vision.
Arnie looked right past me when we met because of his macular degeneration; he also had high blood pressure and several other illnesses requiring multiple prescription medications. These diagnoses dictated a complex medication schedule. What struck me was that he had such complete and utter denial that his living situation was significantly unsafe. At times, Arnie was unable to use either of his phones safely because of his vision deficit, he confessed to having eaten rotten food because he could not see it, who knows how frequently he took his prescription medications incorrectly.
So Many Falls
Don’t forget the falls, ’every once in a while’ in his apartment that were, ‘no big deal.’ The most significant issue was that he actually walked in the divided highway –in the snow– because there was not a sidewalk that was cleared. Arnie needed groceries and cat food. Not to mention he navigates those cement snow & ice covered cement steps to leave his apartment. At one point in the recent past he actually lost his balance and fell in the street requiring treatment from emergency response personnel; he sustained lacerations and a knee injury and was released to his apartment.
ALL BY HIMSELF.
No way to get pain medicine or home health care orders to observe his wounds and ensure healing.
Who addressed why he was walking in the street in the winter… when he could not see?
As my interview progressed he casually mentioned his children lived out of state. “They call me all the time though.”
How a Senior Care Director Can Help
- I engaged a family member (with his permission)
- I requated a skilled home care Nurse/Physical Therapist/Occupational Therapist regarding falling, medication teaching, and vision impairment
- I contacted the local Area Agency on aging for community resources
- I contacted a private duty home care agency for assistance with home upkeep/shopping/cooking
- I discussed long-term planning and a move to a senior living community
Arnie is just one example of senior family members who get lost in aging. Does your senior need help? Click here to get my free report on the 12 Warning Signs Your Elder Needs Assistance.