Submitted by LivWell Seniors, LLC
I have pondered over my father-in-law who is 91 and lives 90 minutes away from most of his children. He has home health come in one time a week to set up meds and check a wound from a surgery. Overall, he is very independent. He goes to the Senior Center for lunch, HyVee for coffee in the am, and drives occasionally to a casino for Senior Day. Just this week, he cancelled his birthday party and told his son that his nurse told him to stay quarantined at home for the next four or five days, and mentioned influenza. My immediate reaction, as I have worked in healthcare with the elderly my whole career, was to be worried! I have seen the influenza cases on the news, and people are dying quickly with little warning. He is elderly, and has some kidney issues and such, and is starting to slow down a bit (even for 91!).
We waited a day to call him since he was resting. When calling him (with an impending snow storm coming) he sounded confused and, being a sports fan, didn’t even know the Super Bowl was on. That was a red flag to us! My husband and I sat worried, and I felt so helpless. He promised us he felt ok and would call 911 if he felt worse. He didn’t “think” he had a fever. I remembered — thank goodness — that I had gotten the work cell of his home health nurse six months ago this summer, when I was visiting him and she was there. I went on a hunt for it, and thankfully found it! She answered my text on a Sunday evening, and I found out he was not to be seen again by the nurse for five more days. I told her our concerns, and she got permission to see him first thing the next morning. Upon seeing him, she noticed a marked change and was able to report to his doctor. He now is scheduled to go see the doctor.
I kept thinking that I was so thankful that I had asked for her number. I realized how important it is to make contacts with the folks that see your senior loved ones on a regular basis and make sure you get their contact information. Often times, your senior loved one will not call or let you know when they are not doing well. They don’t want to bother, be a burden, or most of all, be put into the “home” as my father-in-law refers to anything besides his own house! Ask them to give you a courtesy call if they notice any changes in your senior. Things can often be taken care of before they get worse, and often your senior will be relieved that you do know. We all need to look out for our elderly, as they have paved the way for all of us with so many sacrifices.
LivWell Seniors serves as a local agency providing community based resources that are 100 percent free to seniors and their families. They are funded by the senior care providers that utilize their service and network of connections.
For further information, contact us at 563-265-1577 or visit our website at www.livwellseniors.com.
“The gift of friendship… a wiliness to listen, a pair of helping hands, a whisper from the heart. That someone cares and understands.”