DESTIN -- Thanksgiving starts off the holiday season and many families are reuniting for the holidays. If you're spending time with an aging parent or relative, it's also a good time to look for signs of dementia or other issues that may make staying independent harder.
Dale Dalbey with Synergy Home Care in Destin, Florida, says the holidays offer a chance ot look for signs of dementia or other difficulties.
For example, if your mother has always been a tidy housekeeper and you find the house messy. Or check the mailbox and find that she hasn't been getting the mail. Introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them to call you if they see something that concerns them.
When discussing issues with an aging relative, Dalbey says to be respectful and don't place blame. Don't use words like "Don't you remember?," because a lot of times, Dalbey says, they don't remember. "You words" can be trigger words to people who may have dementia or forgetfulness issues. Talk about how you feel as a son or daughter instead, Dalbey adds. "I worry about you mom, and I wish you had some help in the house."
Dalbey says to be empathetic when discussing whether to have housekeeping or other services for aging parents. Remember that they realize that they can't do these tasks any more, and that situation will never get better.
Dalbey says services to monitor aging relatives have gotten much better over the years. it's not just the "I've fallen and I can't get up" alert worn around the neck. Systems include cameras and monitors that detect when someone has fallen.
Listen to an interview with Dale Dalbey below.