While we would love to visualize enjoying a Norman Rockwell-worthy holiday gathering, with all of our family members spending quality time together and Grandma’s traditional holiday feast, the reality for many families instead involves something unforeseen: an emergency room visit. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that emergency room visits for older adults jump as much as 10 – 20% during the holidays.
While determining the exact reason behind this increase is complicated, one issue could be family members who have not been spending as much time with an older relative in the timeframe leading up to the holiday season who notice during holiday visits that his or her condition has declined.
Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital shares, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in six months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”
And, there are some typical changes related to aging that might be misinterpreted, leading family members to think that an E/R visit is needed.
There are, nonetheless, several proactive steps that can be taken to prevent a holiday emergency. Use the following senior care tips to avoid an emergency room visit this holiday season:
- Maintain a list of contact information for the senior’s primary care physician and any other medical specialists. Be sure the list includes all medications prescribed by each doctor and any drug allergies or other concerns. Contacting the appropriate medical professional for his/her guidelines about your concerns is a good first step prior to an emergency room visit, unless of course the senior is experiencing a true emergency.
- Talk with the older adult about assigning a health care proxy, who will serve as a voice in making health decisions if your loved one is no longer able to do so. Make certain a living will is in place as well.
- Check in with your loved one regularly throughout the course of the year. For family members who live at a distance, it’s beneficial to recruit the help of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to stop in to see the senior regularly and to update you with any changes they detect.
Of course, if it is an actual emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 and seek the emergency medical care required immediately.
A professional home care agency, like New Horizons In-Home Care, is the ideal solution to make sure your loved ones continue to remain healthy and well, and that any changes in condition are addressed right away – so the holidays will remain as festive and enjoyable as they should be. Just several of the many ways we can help include:
- Medication reminders
- Planning and preparing meals
- Housekeeping and laundry
- And more
Call our Eugene care team at 541-687-8851 to schedule a free in-home consultation and find out more about our customized home health services in Eugene, OR, and nearby areas. To see if our services are available in your area, please visit our Locations page.