Taking care of elderly parents: how to assess your loved ones’ needs this holiday season

By Collen Van Horn, RN, B.S.N., PHN, CCM

The holidays are a wonderful time to come together with family and friends young and old. But for adult children

taking care of elderly parents

, the holiday season also presents a prime opportunity to assess loved ones’ needs – and to keep an eye out for signs of mental or physical decline. A recent report in the

Wall Street Journal

suggests the following tips for taking stock of your parents’ health – and recommends that, if faced with dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms or signs of waning physical health, family members contact a professional geriatric care manager to get help creating a customized care plan.

  1. Medical needs

Get a sense of your aging parents’ physical and mental health, either by accompanying them to doctor’s appointments or requesting their permission to review medical records. Consider a consultation or full assessment with a geriatric care manager to go over possible health risks and lifestyle adjustments.

  1. Financial benefits

Do some research to find out whether or not your parents are eligible for any benefits or discount programs to help offset medical care and prescription drug costs. Also, look in to programs for veterans and their families, and find out if any of your own employee benefits cover senior care costs for aging family members.

  1. Medicare and Medicaid

Make sure you know what is and isn’t covered by Medicare and Medicaid, and determine whether or not your parents possess any assets that may impact their eligibility. Medicare does not cover long-term healthcare costs like assisted living, but experienced geriatric care managers can help you figure out affordable alternatives.

  1. Hospice care

Remember to find out whether or not local assisted living facilities offer hospice care, or if such care is available on an in-home basis in your parents’ area. Discuss alternatives with a geriatric care manager.

Planning for eldercare can be a daunting task; but with help from the geriatric care management professionals at Innovative Healthcare Consultants, you don’t have to do it alone. To learn more about senior caregiving resources and benefit programs in the San Diego area, contact us today. Visit



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