405 South Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101

PO Box 773002 Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 80477

Tel: 970-879-1572 

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  • Catherine Swan

Changes in Elderly Relatives

One of the greatest blessings of the holiday season is gathering with friends and loved ones that we don’t normally see throughout the year.



For some that means visiting with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends over a lively dinner. For others, the holidays are a rare chance to spend quality time with parents or siblings who live out of state.


This special holiday time together with loved ones also presents a unique opportunity to spot changes in older family members that may indicate a greater need for long-term care.


Fresh Eyes on the Problem

It’s not unusual for slight personality or behavior changes to go unnoticed by those who see your loved one on a regular basis. It’s much like living at home with small children; you don’t realize how much they’ve grown until their clothes no longer fit.

The same is true with older relatives who may be changing in subtle, yet concerning ways.


Know the Warning Signs

What exactly should you be paying attention to as you visit with elderly family and friends? Here’s a brief list of warning signs that may indicate your loved one needs additional help around the house or increased medical care:


Forgetfulness

Confusion

Neglect of physical appearance or basic hygiene

Neglect of medical needs

Trouble performing routine tasks or chores

Personality changes

Sudden money trouble due to inability to handle affairs

Unsteadiness, clumsiness or recent history of falling

No longer responds to sounds or sudden loud noises

Wearing inappropriate clothing based on the weather

Has trouble answering simple questions

Repeats the same information or asks the same questions during short conversations


If your loved one displays any of the signs above, it’s important to address the situation as soon as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable going directly to that person, talk with other family members to see if they also noticed unusual behaviors or warning signs. From there you can approach your loved one together to discuss the possibility of increased care, whether it be regular check-ins from family members, moving to assisted living or placement in a nursing home.


Get Help Making Long-Term Care Decisions

Should they display signs that in-home, assisted living or nursing home care may be necessary in the future, it’s equally important to sit down with an attorney to ensure that your loved one is legally and financially prepared for the transition. An attorney who focuses on end-of-life planning will help prepare key documents such as Powers of Attorneys and Healthcare Directives, as well as advise the family on ways to protect as many assets as possible for heirs or a healthy spouse still living at home.


Help Is Available

A good lawyer can also help the family feel confident that they are making the best possible decisions for future financial security and peace of mind during an otherwise challenging time.   Call Swan Law at (970)879-1572 or email manager@swanlawoffice.com for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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